» Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

Ed Driscoll

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

“Writing in the New York Times this weekend, economist, author, and blogger Tyler Cowen says that we might need to get used to the idea that the economy will continue to underperform our expectations,” Yahoo reports, as spotted by Ace of Spades:

Rush Limbaugh was just talking about this article, which had been published in the New York Times. His take was that as it had been excerpted at Yahoo News, Low Information Voters and Millennials (but I repeat myself) would actually see it when they came to Yahoo to read about “Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez and her butt.”

The economy might stink for a while.Writing in the New York Times this weekend, economist, author, and blogger Tyler Cowen says that we might need to get used to the idea that the economy will continue to underperform our expectations.

Cowen says that right now there are two core outlooks on the economy, both of which are inherently optimistic.

One says that things like low wage growth and low interest rates are phases that will pass, and the other is that we merely didn’t appreciate how long it would take to recover from the financial crisis.

But is it a foregone conclusion that things will just get back to “normal”?

In February of 2009, back when I was still doing my Silicon Graffiti videos, I produced a clip titled “Rendezvous with Scarcity,” in which I concluded, “Ronald Reagan began his political career as an FDR supporter. Beginning in the 1960s, he took to using FDR’s iconic ‘Rendezvous with Destiny’ phrase in many of his most important speeches. But these days, it’s looking like the next few years—maybe even a big chunk of the next decade—could very well be a rendezvous with scarcity.”

A couple of months prior, Time magazine described Obama as the next FDR. Curiously, they meant it as a compliment.

Timothy P. Carney of the American Enterprise Institute is interviewed by Libertarianism.org on “Big Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics:”

So the most famous sort of muckraker progressive story is Upton Sinclair, going into the meat packing plants and then everybody reads a book and sees how gross his meat packing plants are.

It’s an interesting story as a journalist because Sinclair was trying to write a socialist thing about the plight of the worker and people maybe started thinking, “Oh, the worker has it rough,” and then they say, “They put what in my meat?” and they lost all concern …

[Crosstalk]

Timothy Carney: Yeah, and the – he said, “I aimed for the country’s heart and I accidentally hit them in the gut.” That’s what Sinclair said and so there are letters that Teddy Roosevelt wrote that Gabriel Kolko who himself calls himself a socialist, he dug up these letters and he sees Roosevelt saying, “I find Sinclair like a completely despicable man, but he’s very useful here because it allows me to push for increased mandatory federal regulation of meat packing.”

You have the head of the big meat packer show up in congressional committees and say, “We are now and have always been in favor of federal regulation of meat packing.” Sinclair said, “No, this isn’t what I was aiming for. This is going to just give a government stamp of approval on the big guys. It’s going to create barriers to entry that keeps out the little guys.”

You see it again and again throughout where a lot of the attempts at monopoly and say oil and steel that the market undercut those attempts in the ways that you know they very often do. Everybody raises their prices in a cartel and then one guy is just way too tempted by the idea of stealing all the sales by undercutting the cartel. They started to go get together and say, “We’re not going to have a successful cartel unless we bring the government into it.”

So again, I track it back to Alexander Hamilton and George Washington but you can also – you can see it throughout all of history.

Aaron Ross Powell: Given that this has been going on for so long and that many cases sounds like it was rather obvious, what was going on, I mean was – there was no real attempt to hide the influence of big business on these regulations. Why does this narrative of the antagonism persist?

Timothy Carney: Why does the big myth persist? This is something I’ve tried to look into. For one, there are people who find it useful. If you’re a big business, you find it very useful to sort of have a docile kind of republican party that’s willing to do what you say, because they believe it’s in service of a higher cause.

I actually think that would be a more interesting story but it’s a harder story to tell and a lot of the reporters don’t even grasp it. When they do grasp it, it’s this amazing exception. The New York Times just recently had a piece about catfishing companies and said that these companies would sell these catfish. They were having trouble and so they did the unthinkable. They asked for more federal regulation.

Of course that’s almost the same phrase the New York Times used when they said Philip Morris did the unthinkable and they asked for more federal regulation of cigarettes and then you’ve got the – all these other companies that go ahead and they did the unthinkable and they asked for more government involvement.

And then there is Wall Street embracing Barack Obama in 2008, (aka “President Goldman Sachs”) and embracing Hillary Clinton $250,000 at a time. But the media continue to insist that Big Business is monolithically conservative and Republican — it’s kabuki all the way down, and it’s been that way for years.

Name That Party, Windy City Edition!

May 14th, 2015 - 4:21 pm

“Five Reasons Chicago Is in Worse Shape Than Detroit,” as proffered by BloombergBusiness (warning: auto-play video at link). Here are a few:

POLITICAL PARALYSIS: Just as Detroit slid into bankruptcy after decades of economic and actuarial warnings, Chicago politicians have watched the train wreck rumble toward them for more than a decade. During that time, they skipped pension payments and paid scant attention to the financial damage being done. In 10 years starting in 2002, the city increased its bonded debt by 84 percent, according to the Civic Federation, which tracks city finances. That added more than $1,300 to the tab of every Chicago resident.

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder acted* when the crisis in Detroit couldn’t be avoided. He invoked a state law giving an emergency manager what amounts to fiscal martial-law power. In Chicago’s case, there’s no political pressure to invoke a similar law. And a proposal supported by Rauner that would allow municipalities to seek bankruptcy protection without state approval is languishing in the Illinois legislature.

NO BAILOUT: Detroit’s bankruptcy filing allowed it to restructure its debt, officially snuffing out $7 billion of it by cutting pensions and payments to creditors. In Illinois, the nation’s lowest-rated state with unfunded pension obligations of $111 billion, Rauner had a blunt message last week in an unprecedented address to Chicago’s City Council: The city will get no state bailout.

DENIAL: After years of denial, Detroit officials finally, if grudgingly, agreed to major surgery. At least for now, Chicago’s Emanuel is sticking to his view that the Illinois Supreme Court’s rejection of a state pension reform law doesn’t apply to the city. “That reform is not affected by today’s ruling, as we believe our plan fully complies with the State constitution because it fundamentally preserves and protects worker pensions,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Just a reminder, Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since the days of Al Capone. But you wouldn’t know that reading the above article. (CTRL-F “Democrat” brings zero results.

Unexpectedly!, as they like to say at Bloomberg, whenever bad news strikes a Democrat.

However, there is one way that Chicago isn’t yet Detroit — Chicago’s architecture, as built by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and their disciples is spectacular, even as it serves a class of effete bobo hipsters working in an increasingly hollowed-out shell of a city (QED). In contrast, as this Popular Mechanics article on aerial drone photography asks, “Who knew that parts of Detroit look like abandoned towns left to rot after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in Pripyat, Ukraine?”

Well, pretty much everybody who’s been paying attention over the last several years, as the once great Motor City continues to revert back to primordial nothingness. But check out the impressive aerial “ruin porn” anyhow.

* But gee, what were some of the ways in which Gov. Snyder acted? And which party does he belong to?

“Wall Street raiders and business tycoons still cite Sun Tzu’s classic military treatise to explain preparation and tactical prowess. But if you really want an insight into 21st century warfare, you need to read Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Here’s why,” Joe Pappalardo writes at Popular Mechanics, offering six reasons, beginning with the novel’s refutation of Edwin Starr’s funky but brain-dead shout of “War — UNGH!! — what is it good for?!”

“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor, and contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.”– Mr. Dubois, Johnnie’s history and moral philosophy teacher.

People have been conditioned to think that war is only wasteful and tragic. Often it is both, to be sure. But the “what is it good for? Absolutely nothing” line is entirely too simplistic. War is a tool that can be applied to many situations: to roll back aggression and deter aggressors, to end dictatorships, to stop genocide, or to protect the supply of commodities central to the nation’s interest. You don’t blame a screwdriver when someone uses it to break into a car — you blame the car thief. Likewise, war is an extension of governmental policy — the better the policy, the better the war’s outcome. Invading France to conquer it was a Nazi crime. Invading France to liberate it was an Allied triumph.

Despite our best wishes and peaceful intentions, someone else with a gun can shape the future. A coalition of the willing can build schools in Afghanistan, but a couple of jerks with rifles and a can of gasoline can reduce it to ashes. Sometimes, meeting violence with more effective violence is what it takes to give peace a chance. Consider the recent example of eliminating Columbian FARC rebels with precision airstrikes. This is a smart use of force — a way to use violence to set conditions of a diplomatic solution. Instead of starting a cycle of violence, a smart war can end one.

Sun Tzu says: “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact. To shatter and destroy it is not so good.”

I’m not sure about that — hitting the CTL-ALT-DLT buttons on Germany and Japan worked out far better in the long run than attempting to leave the infrastructure of Iraq as intact as possible, as Mark Steyn wrote a decade ago, in an article that resonates remarkably on the weekend of the 70th anniversary of V-E day:

The Japs fought a filthy war, but a mere six decades later America, Britain and Japan sit side by side at G7 meetings. The US and Canada apologise unceasingly for the wartime internment of Japanese civilians, and a historically uncontroversial authentic vernacular expression such as “the Japs fought a filthy war” is now so distasteful that use of it inevitably attracts noisy complaints about offensively racist characterisations. The old militarist culture – of kamikaze fanatics, and occupation regimes that routinely tortured and beheaded and even ate their prisoners – is dead as dead can be.

Would that have happened without Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the earlier non-nuclear raids? In one night of “conventional” bombing – March 9th – 100,000 civilians died in Tokyo. Taking a surrender from the enemy is one thing; ensuring that he’s completely, totally, utterly beaten is another.

A peace without Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been a different kind of peace; the surrender would have been, in every sense, more “conditional”. Japanese militarism would not have been so thoroughly vanquished, nor so obviously responsible for the nation’s humiliation and devastation, and, therefore, not so irredeemably consigned to history. A greater affection and respect for the old regime could well have persisted, and lingered to hobble the new modern, democratic Japan devised by the Americans.

Which brings us to our present troubles. Nobody’s suggesting nuking Mecca. Well, okay, the other day a Republican congressman, Tom Tancredo, did – or at any rate he raised the possibility that at some point we might well have to “bomb” Mecca. Even I, a fully paid-up armchair warmonger, baulked at that one, prompting some of my more robust correspondents to suggest I’d gone over to the side of the New York Times pantywaists.

But forget about bombing Mecca and consider the broader lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: an enemy folds when he knows he’s finished. In Iraq, despite the swift fall of the Saddamites, it’s not entirely clear the enemy did know. Indeed, the western peaceniks’ pre-war “human shields” operation was completely superfluous mainly because the Anglo-American forces decided to treat not just Iraqi civilians and not just Iraqi conscripts but virtually everyone other than Saddam, Uday and Qusay as a de facto human shield. Washington made a conscious choice to give every Iraqi the benefit of the doubt, including the fake surrenderers who ambushed the US marines at Nasiriyah.

If you could get to a rooftop, you could fire rocket-propelled grenades at the Brits and Yanks with impunity, because, under the most onerous rules of engagement ever devised, they wouldn’t fire back just in case the building you were standing on hadn’t been completely evacuated. Michael Moore and George Galloway may have thought the neocons were itching to massacre hundreds of thousands, but the behaviour of the Baathists suggests they knew better: they assumed western decency and, having no regard either for our lives or for those of their own people, acted accordingly.

Was this a mistake? Several analysts weren’t happy about it at the time, simply because Washington and London were exposing their own troops to greater danger than necessary. But, with hindsight, it also helped set up a lot of the problems Iraq’s had to contend with since: not enough Baathists were killed in the initial invasion; too many bigshots survived to plot mischief and too many minnows were allowed to melt back into the general population to provide a delivery system for that mischief.

And in a basic psychological sense, excessive solicitude for the enemy won us not sympathy but contempt.

Just ask ISIS, and the savages who tried to kill Pam Geller and company last week.

“James Franco’s Stock Just Shot Up,” Rd Brewer writes at Ace of Spades: 

Until this morning, I wasn’t much of a James Franco fan. Seth Rogen has the erroneous belief that shock = humor, and Franco keeps doing that kind of movie with him. Shock is self-oriented, self-indulgent; it’s more about the shocker than the shockee, so to speak. Shock humor gives the shocker a chance to laugh at the reaction of the person or audience targeted, and I think it’s easy to mistake that inward amusement for something that is funny for everybody. A little of it works, sure, but a little of it goes a long way. Rogen, Franco, and whoever they’re working with, however, appear to think a movie can be filled with it.

* * * * * * *

Anyway. Franco wrote an article for the Washington Post today, McDonald’s was there for me when no one else was. It’s about his experience as a fast-food employee and the value of McDonald’s as an employer.

McDonald’s sales have slumped. Maybe the public wants healthier food. Maybe there’s too much competition. Maybe people aren’t into the chipotle barbecue snack wrap. McDonald’s leaders have vowed to reverse the downturn by recommitting to “hot, fresh food,” by selling off certain outlets to independent owners — which would reduce the number of corporate-covered employees with a newly raised minimum wage — and by cutting $300 million in costs. How this cost cut will affect jobs remains unclear.But I want the strategy to work. All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was.

. . .

Someone asked me if I was too good to work at McDonald’s. Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald’s. I went to the nearest Mickey D’s and was hired the same day.

. . .

I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need.

And speaking of the venerable fast-food chain, Ann Althouse catches the New York Times writing, “Who could have guessed in the mid-1980s, at a pair of otherwise forgettable McDonald’s restaurants some 20 miles apart, that two bushy-haired teenagers working the burger grills would become Wisconsin’s most powerful Republicans?” As Glenn Reynolds responds to the Times’ subtle digs at Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, “Well, for one thing, the fact that they had real jobs might have been a tip-off.”

But what of McDonald’s future? While Ryan and Walker look to advance Wisconsin beyond its century old “Progressive” box canyon past, Steve Green writes that the new (British!) McDonald’s CEO is about to take a giant step backwards, vowing to build a “modern, progressive burger company.” Because that’s the world needs more of: “Progressive” fast-food. Pass the tofu and arugula, please!

All This and World War II

May 8th, 2015 - 12:49 pm

Back in 2010, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal spotted our old friend, former Enron advisor Paul Krugman rejoicing over the economic “miracle of the 1940s,” or as the rest of us call it, World War II.  Today, on the 70th anniversary of VE Day, Kevin D. Williamson of NRO spies another member of the left eager to celebrate, as Williamson writes, the “‘Mass Destruction of Capital’ as a Liberal Economic Panacea:”

One can look back at the immediate postwar era and cherry-pick whatever policy one likes, crediting it with the generally satisfactory state of affairs in those years: the relatively high tax rates and strong unions of the Eisenhower years if you’re a progressive, the relatively small public-sector footprint and stable families if you’re a conservative. The desire to return to that state of affairs is alluring for some. Writing in Salon* this week, Conor Lynch is positively wistful: “The mass destruction of capital around the world created a much more even playing field than before, while also placing the United States at the forefront of the world economy.”

“Destruction of capital” is a cute way of describing the slaughter of some 80 million people and the burning of their cities. There were good policy decisions and bad policy decisions in the postwar era, but the fundamental fact of economic life on this planet during that time was that humanity was rebuilding after the single worst event in its history, a conflagration that killed more people than the Mongol conquests and the Chinese civil war combined.

When our old friend Frédéric Bastiat described the broken-window fallacy — the nonsensical belief that we can make ourselves richer by destroying wealth and thereby providing ourselves with the opportunity to replace it — he could not have imagined how many windows would be broken less than a century later. American involvement in that war was necessary, but it did not make us any better off in real terms, despite the persistent myth that the war led us out of the Depression. (Solve unemployment now — draft everybody!) Nobody understood this better than the commander of the Allied forces in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose subsequent presidency would be buoyed by the postwar boom. Wars do not create real wealth — they destroy it, a fact that he lamented in his famous “Cross of Iron” speech:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

An interesting turn of phrase from a man named Eisenhower (“iron-worker”).

I don’t want to spoil the punchline of Williamson’s article, so definitely read the whole thing.

* A publication that in recent years has always been eager to unleash their inner liberal fascist — first seeking to nationalize all the industries, then wanting to see “a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back,” and now, as Williamson writes, quoting Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, begging for rebirth as “a minister of death, praying for war.”

“UN scientists warn time is running out to tackle global warming — Scientists say eight years left to avoid worst effects,” screamed a London Guardian headline on May 4th, 2007. The article’s lede is equally classic boilerplate “Grauniad:”

Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.

Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.

The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published yesterday in Bangkok. It says most of the technology needed to stop climate change in its tracks already exists, but that governments must act quickly to force through changes across all sectors of society. Delays will make the problem more difficult, and more expensive.

As Power Line’s Steve Hayward quips, “Those eight years run out tomorrow.  So I assume that climatistas will shut up tomorrow night.”

Oh, of course — just like they did after being embarrassed by NASA’s James Hansen claiming in January of 2009 that Obama had only four years to save the planet,  Al Gore declaring in December of 2008 that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years,” (and Gore later selling out to Big Oil) and the classic March 2000 headline from the London Independent quoted above.

Those of us who grew up in the 1970s recall an era when the media was awash in doomsday, paranormal crankery and conspiracy theories — Bigfoot, looming global cooling, mass starvation and lurking UFOs. Regarding that last example from the fever swamps, a decade ago at Tech Central Station,Internet Killed the Alien Star,” Douglas Kern wrote:

Yet in recent years, interest in the UFO phenomenon has withered. Oh, the websites are still up, the odd UFO picture is still taken, and the usual hardcore UFO advocates make the same tired arguments about the same tired cases, but the thrill is gone. What happened? Why did the saucers crash?

The Internet showed this particular emperor to be lacking in clothes. If UFOs and alien visitations were genuine, tangible, objective realities, the Internet would be an unstoppable force for detecting them. How long could the vast government conspiracy last, when intrepid UFO investigators could post their prized pictures on the Internet seconds after taking them? How could the Men in Black shut down every website devoted to scans of secret government UFO documents? How could marauding alien kidnappers remain hidden in a nation with millions of webcams?

Just as our technology for finding and understanding UFOs improved dramatically, the manifestations of UFOs dwindled away. Despite forty-plus years of alleged alien abductions, not one scrap of physical evidence supports the claim that mysterious visitors are conducting unholy experiments on hapless victims. The technology for sophisticated photograph analysis can be found in every PC in America, and yet, oddly, recent UFO pictures are rare. Cell phones and instant messaging could summon throngs of people to witness a paranormal event, and yet such paranormal events don’t seem to happen very often these days. For an allegedly real phenomenon, UFOs sure do a good job of acting like the imaginary friend of the true believers. How strange, that they should disappear just as we develop the ability to see them clearly. Or perhaps it isn’t so strange.

The Internet taught the public many tricks of the UFO trade. For years, hucksters and mental cases played upon the credulity of UFO investigators. Bad science, shabby investigation, and dubious tales from unlikely witnesses characterized far too many UFO cases. But the rise of the Internet taught the world to be more skeptical of unverified information — and careful skepticism is the bane of the UFO phenomenon. It took UFO experts over a decade to determine that the “Majestic-12″ documents of the eighties were a hoax, rather than actual government documents proving the reality of UFOs. Contrast that decade to the mere days in which the blogosphere disproved the Mary Mapes Memogate documents. Similarly, in the nineties, UFO enthusiasts were stunned when they learned that a leading investigator of the Roswell incident had fabricated much of his research, as well as his credentials. Today, a Google search and a few e-mails would expose such shenanigans in minutes.

Global cooling / warming / climate change / climate chaos was kept alive by old media from the first Earth Day in 1970 (which really taught the value of composting…) until the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s. Any scientist seeking plentiful government funding and/or any politician wishing to reduce his constituents’ freedoms could appear on the nightly news and mutter, all but wearing a sandwich board that “we only have five years/ten years/eight years” to save the earth, and no sympathetic media figure would ever refute such a statement with earlier expired final countdowns — perhaps the scientist or politician’s own. Today, as with UFOs and Nessie, it’s far easier to illustrate a multitude of failed predictions of doomsday. Speaking of which, for our (by no means complete) collection of some of the previous not-so-final countdowns from the eco-crank left, start here and keep scrolling.

Related: My colleague Bill Whittle dubs it all “Loch Ness Socialism:”

“When Minimum-Wage Hikes Hit a San Francisco Comic-Book Store,” as explored by Ian Tuttle at NRO:

I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.’”

So says Brian Hibbs, owner and operator of Comix Experience, an iconic comic-book and graphic-novel shop on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street, of the city’s new minimum-wage law.

San Francisco’s Proposition J, which 77 percent of voters approved in November, will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. As of today, May 1, Hibbs is required by law to pay his employees at Comix Experience, and its sister store, Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue, $12.25 per hour. That’s just the first of four incremental raises that threaten to put hundreds of such shops out of business.

Hibbs opened Comix Experience on April Fools’ Day, 1989, when he was just 21 years old. Over two-and-a-half decades, the store has become a must-visit location for premier comic-book artists and graphic novelists, and Hibbs has become a leading figure in the industry, serving as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and as a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s board of directors. He notes with pride that his store has turned a profit each year — no small task — since its very first year.

But that may not last. Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. “I was appalled!” he says. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.”

He runs a tight operation already, he says. Comix Experience is open ten hours a day, seven days a week, with usually just one employee at each store at a time. It’s not viable to cut hours, he says, because his slowest hours are in the middle of the day. And he can’t raise prices, because comic books and graphic novels have their retail prices printed on the cover.

What is a small-businessman to do?

Well, science fiction offers one possibility:

Spot-on observation by Danial Hannan, conservative member of Parliament, in the Washington Examiner. Hannan writes, “to a greater degree than most of us care to admit, our political leanings are expressions of our character traits, and are not dependent on empirical data:”

If you start from the conviction that you’re standing up for the underdog, you will naturally assume that your political opponents are for the powerful. You will subliminally screen out evidence that challenges that view. As Danusha Goska put it in American Thinker not long ago, “Never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.”

Do rightists also caricature their opponents? Yes, but not to anything like the same extent. A 2012 study by Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek and Jonathan Haidt asked conservatives and liberals to answer a series of questions as themselves, and then to answer them in the imagined personae of a typical conservative and a typical liberal. It found that the liberals were the least able to accurately to guess their opponents’ views, seeing conservatism as a kind of moral failure.

They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor.

Read the whole thing. As Hannan writes, “In all the years I’ve been in politics, I’m not sure I’ve shaken a single socialist out of the ‘you conservatives hate poor people’ shtick. The only way to answer, I’ve found, is to say: ‘Yup, you’re right: we want to turn them into rich people.’”

But then they would be evil. Unless they were Democrats.

monopoly_hillary_4-20-15-1

“Hillary Clinton admitted today that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” Joel Gehrke writes at NRO:

Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”

The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.

“Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the President’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in September of 2012, for instance.

In a statement, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus mocked Clinton for expressing such surprise, pointing to reports of the cost increases Obamacare has imposed on small businesses.

”At every turn, Hillary Clinton has supported top-down Washington-driven policies that have stacked the deck against small businesses,” Priebus said. “Hillary Clinton can’t possibly be a champion for everyday Americans when she doesn’t understand their most basic economic concerns and was ‘surprised’ to learn that small businesses are struggling.”

Not that Hillary actually cares; last year she blurted out this pathetic Elizabeth Warren meets Obama “You didn’t build that” imitation:

“Don’t let anyone tell that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary Clinton proclaimed to loud applause at a political rally in Boston on October 24.

“You know that old theory — trickle-down economics,” she continued. “That has been tried. That has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

I agree; trickling-down money from DC to failed corporatist ventures like Solyndra has been a disaster, but her previous boss wanted to “spread the wealth around,” to coin a phrase. Another “risky tax scheme,” as Al Gore would say, inasmuch as taxpayers were on the hook when it went bust, was forcing banks to trickle-down mortgages to credit risks who should have never owned homes in the first place; that was her largely her husband’s idea, a ticking fiscal time-bomb that blew up spectacularly in the fall of 2008:

Exit quote, from the late Tony Snow in 1999:

When told [in 1994, that Hillarycare, the prototype for Obamacare] could bankrupt small businesses, Mrs. Clinton sighed, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America.” When a woman complained that she didn’t want to get shoved into a plan not of her choosing, the first lady lectured, “It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals.”

Hey, that last sentence sounds even better in the original German: “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz.”

Shot:

That critical thinking plays a role in falling birthrates is backed up by a study conducted at Kansas State University, in which researchers found that “people’s desire to have children is most influenced by the positive and negative interactions, and the trade-offs.” These are detailed elegantly in an essay by Lionel Shriver, the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, a book in which a mother’s life is ruined by her psychopathic son. “I could have afforded children, financially,” Shriver writes. “I just didn’t want them. They are untidy, they would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned away too much time from my precious books.”

Shriver acknowledges that this attitude could be interpreted as selfish. But, it seems, her feelings are indicative of “a larger transformation in Western culture no less profound than our collective consensus on what life is for.” In other words, she’s saying, an existential shift in the way educated humans approach living—a switch from living for the (possibly celestial) future to enjoying the present—has led humans to think much more carefully about having children, since the drawbacks tend to outweigh the benefits. “As we age,” she writes, “we are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”*

“Why Women Aren’t Having Children,”** The Atlantic, Friday.

Chaser:

Of course, the liberals’ answer is to fight the numbers with amnesty, importing what they hope will be fertile new recruits for their grim ideology in from the Third World. But the problem is that once here, those immigrants who share liberal values eventually stop having babies too. It seems abortion and reproduction don’t mix. The black community has already suffered depredations from the abortion laws Democrats love, a Democrat crime that dwarfs the crime that was Jim Crow. Now immigrant women seem to be taking a cue from liberal women and doing the same. In the meantime, red states like Utah and Texas grow and grow while blue states California and New York gray and shrivel.

Conservatives, it is not enough to merely produce children or, as so many do, adopt those already here. We must nurture them and teach them properly because liberal society is determined to corrupt them and convert them into eager drones for the Borg Collective that is progressivism. Fight back. If you are religious, teach your children about God. If not, teach them to respect and understand those who are. Teach them about our country and our history – there’s no better way to demonstrate to them, as opposed to indoctrinate them, why America deserves their patriotism. My earliest memory is of standing on a Gettysburg battlefield, not far from where my family’s hometown had been burned by Confederate raiders. There really was never much question that someday I would help defend our country as I aspired to be like the heroes who died on those fields.

And teach your kids skills that will help them survive. Teach them to fight, and to shoot. Teach them to be steadfast in the defense of their rights, and to stand up for those being oppressed. My kids have a standing offer – if their school suspends them for justifiably punching a bully they get taken out for ice cream. And demand that your school teaches your kids properly – as Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds often says, sending your kids to public schools is almost parental malpractice.

Not all conservatives will choose to have kids. Some can’t, and some have personal reasons not to – as grown men and women, none of them owe us any explanation. But by and large, we conservatives will outbreed our opponents if we just keep at it. So get some cabernet poured and some Barry White on and get busy, conservatives. Get busy…for America.

“Sexy Conservatives Will Out-Breed Barren Liberals,” Kurt Schlichter, Townhall, today.

Hangover:

* Let’s return to this line from the Atlantic article: “We are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”

Did Tom Wolfe call this 40 years ago in “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” or what?

Whatever the Third Great Awakening amounts to, for better or for worse, will have to do with this unprecedented post-World War II American development: the luxury, enjoyed by so many millions of middling folk, of dwelling upon the self. At first glance, Shirley Polykoff’s [advertising] slogan—“If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a blonde!”—seems like merely another example of a superficial and irritating rhetorical trope (antanaclasis) that now happens to be fashionable among advertising copywriters. But in fact the notion of “If I’ve only one life” challenges one of those assumptions of society that are so deep-rooted and ancient, they have no name—they are simply lived by. In this case: man’s age-old belief in serial immortality.

The husband and wife who sacrifice their own ambitions and their material assets in order to provide “a better future” for their children . . . the soldier who risks his life, or perhaps consciously sacrifices it, in battle . . . the man who devotes his life to some struggle for “his people” that cannot possibly be won in his lifetime . . . people (or most of them) who buy life insurance or leave wills . . . and, for that matter, most women upon becoming pregnant for the first time . . . are people who conceive of themselves, however unconsciously, as part of a great biological stream. Just as something of their ancestors lives on in them, so will something of them live on in their children . . . or in their people, their race, their community—for childless people, too, conduct their lives and try to arrange their postmortem affairs with concern for how the great stream is going to flow on. Most people, historically, have not lived their lives as if thinking, “I have only one life to live.” Instead they have lived as if they are living their ancestors’ lives and their offspring’s lives and perhaps their neighbors’ lives as well. They have seen themselves as inseparable from the great tide of chromosomes of which they are created and which they pass on. The mere fact that you were only going to be here a short time and would be dead soon enough did not give you the license to try to climb out of the stream and change the natural order of things. The Chinese, in ancestor worship, have literally worshiped the great tide itself, and not any god or gods. For anyone to renounce the notion of serial immortality, in the West or the East, has been to defy what seems like a law of Nature. Hence the wicked feeling—the excitement!—of “If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a ———!” Fill in the blank, if you dare.

And now many dare it! In Democracy in America, Tocqueville (the inevitable and ubiquitous Tocqueville) saw the American sense of equality itself as disrupting the stream, which he called “time’s pattern”: “Not only does democracy make each man forget his ancestors, it hides his descendants from him, and divides him from his contemporaries; it continually turns him back into himself, and threatens, at last, to enclose him entirely in the solitude of his own heart.” A grim prospect to the good Alexis de T.—but what did he know about . . . Let’s talk about Me!

** I blame global warming. No seriously; if you’ve truly internalized the crazed prophesies the warm-mongers have been shouting since the first Earth Day 45 years ago that “We only have five/ten/12 years, 362 days, 35 minutes and 22 seconds” to save the Earth, why would you want to inflict that vision of a barren future world on a kid?

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On March 18th, 1968, following the 1965 riots in Watts and in numerous American cities in 1967, including the riot that began the destruction of Detroit, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech to the students at  Kansas State University. Kennedy quoted the words of early 20th century “Progressive” Kansan William Allen White, and eerily foreshadowed his own death just a few months later, when he said:

‘If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.’ ” …

At first he seemed tentative and wooden, stammering and repeating himself, too nervous to punctuate his sentences with gestures. But with each round of applause he became more animated. Soon he was pounding the lectern with his right fist, and shouting out his words.

Rene Carpenter watched the students in the front rows. Their faces shone, and they opened their mouths in unison, shouting, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

Hays Gorey, of Time, called the electricity between Kennedy and the K.S.U. students “real and rare” and said that ” .. John Kennedy … himself couldn’t be so passionate, and couldn’t set off such sparks.”

Kevin Rochat was close to weeping because Kennedy was so direct and honest. He kept telling himself, My God! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been thinking! ..

Kennedy concluded by saying, “Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies–and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once said was the last, great hope of mankind. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America but for the heart of America. In these next eight months we are going to decide what this country will stand for–and what kind of men we are.”

He raised his fist in the air so it resembled the revolutionary symbol on posters hanging in student rooms that year, promised “a new America,” and the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.

While last year we saw destructive riots ginned up by the media in Ferguson and rioting in New York, Twitter users witness a virtual riot about once a week it seems. And needless to say, sadly, many Twitter users also participate in the weekly Two-Minute Hate. In her review of Jon Ronson’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Megan McArdle writes at Bloomberg, “Social media is now producing what you might call ‘shame-storming,’ where some offense (real or imagined) is uncovered, and a horde of indignant tweeters quickly assembles to publicize the transgression and heap imprecations on its author”:

This sort of shaming has costs, however. If you haven’t changed someone’s mind, you haven’t changed their behavior, only what they say. If they do harbor the bad beliefs you accused them of, those beliefs are now festering in private rather than being open to persuasion. And you haven’t even necessarily changed what they say in a good direction, because people who are afraid of unjust attacks aren’t afraid of being punished for saying things they know they ought to be ashamed of, but of being punished for saying something they didn’t know would attract this kind of ire. So they’re afraid to say anything at all, or at least anything more interesting than “Woo, puppies!” That’s not norm enforcement; it’s blanket terror.

An even greater cost is that shame itself starts to lose its power. When outrage of the week becomes outrage of the hour, the audience starts to check out. Few people can sustain the emotional intensity needed to see cosmic injustice behind every badly phrased sentence or juvenile photo. Meanwhile, people in communities closer to the target start to respond with an outpouring of support, such that Memories Pizza ended up not by closing up shop and issuing a tearful apology, but trying to figure out what to do with the donations that poured in. The public shaming didn’t change anyone’s mind on gay marriage, or even make it extra-costly to operate an establishment that won’t cater gay weddings; it just hardened each side in their respective positions.

Riding out an online shame-storm isn’t much fun, but as Marc Fitch writes at the Federalist, in an article titled, “We Are Legion: Don’t Let Internet Culture Amplify Idiots,” “It is often quite easy to feel that you are greatly outnumbered and that the entire world is against you, particularly if you have the gall to air your beliefs in the public realm (or be caught in it, in [the Memories Pizza] situation)”:

Social media can seemingly explode with anger at your mention of a political or cultural position that goes against whatever the Video Music Awards are advocating this year. You are beset by Legion.

But are you, really? Two thousand people is a drop in the bucket of the overall population, but when they all turn and look at you it can feel overwhelming. While outrage is nothing new in cultural or political fights, the Internet’s ability to allow individuals to reach people they have never met or places they have never been perpetrates an illusion. Memories Pizza was deluged with one-star ratings by people who had never been to the establishment or sampled its pizza.

It was recently revealed that nearly 70 percent of the criticism lobbed at Rush Limbaugh (which is ample) comes from a small group of activists that have devoted their lives to attempting to make his miserable. However, to view coverage of Limbaugh in television and Internet media, you would think that the entire country is listening and vastly offended at everything he says. You would see and hear what appear to be great swaths of civilization amassing against this radio host. But this is an illusion born of spirit, not of substance, and it is meant to influence the spirit of others. It is necessary to separate the corporeal reality from the illusory zeitgeist.

Few people have time to be so incensed, and those that do should not drive culture. Their offense is an illusion. Their feelings may matter to them, but need not drive discussions and certainly shouldn’t attain such grandiose proportions. Ideas can be debated and talked through, and individuals who maintain a decorum of objective detachment can often find common ground. But fight with a spirit, with irrational rage, and there is no way to find commonality.

The anonymity of the Internet allows this illusion to truly reach its greatest power as a single individual can assume any number of Internet personas that can spew any amount of nonsense and vitriol with no accountability or personal reflection whatsoever. The pseudo-anger and the Internet’s ability to instantaneously connect users can often give the impression of widespread outrage, when really hardly anyone has noticed.

And as Glenn Reynolds noted, perhaps the spectacular fundraising pushback to the left’s Frankenstein mob-style attack on Memories Pizza has created a potentially new dynamic to overcome the hatred of the mob, maybe even if they really do follow Spike Lee’s cinematic advice and wreck a beloved neighborhood hangout.

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11 years ago, I wrote an article titled “Hollywood Stasists vs. Valley Dynamists” for Tech Central Station, on the cold technological war between northern and southern California. But rather than using the dynamists and stasists terminology from Virginia Postrel’s 1999 book The Future and Its Enemies, perhaps I should have referred to both sides as the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks, as all of the battles were being led by various factions of the left.

The left-leaning (sometimes very left-leaning and occasionally more than a little racialist) National Journal spots Marlon Perkins-style, “The Secret Republicans of Silicon Valley.” Longtime readers of PJM should find this passage quite familiar:

Rather than ruffle feathers—or worse—Republicans who work there often just keep quiet. Rich Tafel, who coaches tech companies in politics and policy, understands the dynamic. The founder of the gay group Log Cabin Republicans, he’s had many Republicans in Silicon Valley confide to him their true political views.

“You just learn how to operate, if you will, in the closet as a Republican,” Tafel told National Journal. “You keep your viewpoints to yourself.”

One startup CEO who has worked in Silicon Valley for more than a decade says that while it’s popular to talk politics in the workplace, the underlying assumption is that everyone has similar views.

The CEO, who generally votes Republican and donates to GOP candidates—he spoke on background to conceal his right-leaning views—said that in 2012, “you wouldn’t want to say you’re voting for Romney in the election.” At the same time, openly expressing one’s support for Obama was “incredibly common.”

His opposition to raising the minimum wage is just one area where he diverges with most of his colleagues. “If you say something like, ‘We need a higher minimum wage,’ you don’t get critiqued,” he said. But he would never reveal his more conservative outlook on the matter.

“They can’t fathom that somebody disagrees with them,” he said. “And I disagree with them. So I’m not going to open up that box.”

Which our own Roger L. Simon described in the original title of his 2009 autobiography as “Blacklisting Myself:”

You see this new faith in practice at the average Hollywood story meeting. These are ritualized events and have been for the decades that I have participated in them. You wait an inordinately long time for your appointment, often longer than at a doctor’s office, but with nowhere near the legitimate excuse on the part of the executive keeping you waiting. They are definitely not in surgery. The intention is merely to confirm your lower place in the pecking order. (I have personal knowledge of an instance when John Huston and Jack Nicholson were kept cooling their heels in a tiny room by the now-forgotten head of ABC Motion Pictures for nearly two hours—I assume he didn’t realize they’d come to pitch him Prizzi’s Honor. Or maybe he did and this was a form of envy or vengeance.)

Once inside the executive’s office, the pecking order of talent and management thus confirmed, it’s instantly waved off in a burst of small talk and a call for the requisite mineral water—originally Perrier, now something more exotic like an obscure Welsh brand in a blue bottle whose unpronounceable name you can barely remember. But the small talk is what’s important. It usually revolves around the freeway traffic (a perpetual subject), the Lakers (depending on the year), and, over the last half-decade or more, a ritualized Bush bash. (What will they do without him?) Fucking Bush did this or that … Did you hear the stupid thing Chimpy the Idiot said? You didn’t even have to hear Bush referred to specifically— the word “idiot” sufficed. You knew. The subtext was that we were all together, part of the secret society, the world of those who know as opposed to those who don’t.

If you didn’t agree with this particular Weltanschauung, if you dissented from its orthodoxy just a tiny bit, you had but three choices: One, you could argue, in which case you would be almost certain to be dismissed as a fool, a warmonger, or a right-wing nut (all three, probably) and therefore have had little or no chance at the writing or directing job that brought you there. Two, you could shut up and ignore it (stay in the closet), in which case you felt like a coward and experienced (as I have) a dose of nausea straight out of Sartre. Three, you could stop going to the meetings altogether—you could, in effect, blacklist yourself.

I don’t know the size of that self-selected blacklist, but I suspect it’s substantial, though certainly not as large as the number of those in the closet. People have to make a living, after all, as in the days of the old blacklist. Only there are no “fronts,” as in the Woody Allen movie of the same name.

This happens with actors as well; Morgan Brittany, one of the former stars of Dallas who’s openly Republican, tells this story of appearing onstage with Ed Asner, who’s openly Stalinist:

Brittany told of building a friendship with actor Ed Asner, a sometimes activist for progressive causes, when the two starred in a stage-play together during the infamous Florida recount that put Republican George W. Bush in the White House over Democrat Al Gore. And she told how she lost Asner’s friendship due to politics.

“Every night he just loved me and came in and gave me a big hug,” she said. “Then one night he was going crazy about Gore and Bush and stealing the election. I’m backstage and I said, ‘Ed, chill, not everybody thinks the way you do’.”

“Well, where do I begin?” I swear. It was like a light switch,” she said. “He turned to me and said, ‘you’re not a Republican?’ I said, ‘yep.’ And he said, ‘I can’t even look at you. I can’t even talk to you’.”

“From that moment on, he never spoke to me again, except on stage,” she said. “This is what we’re dealing with. The intolerance of the left.”

Goodbye to all of that, says science fiction/fantasy novelist and frequent PJM contributor Sarah Hoyt in response to the socialist justice warriors overrunning that industry’s Hugo Awards, which we mentioned last week, creating what she calls, quite accurately, “The Architecture of Fear:”

Do consider how it would feel to come out of the closet and kick the mouse up and down main street, making him eat his Stalinist “guilt by association” cries.

I’m not going to force you.  I’m not going to out you.

But this Stalinist “I know everything you do and it’s all analyzed for deviationism” always leads to purges.  In SF/F those purges might mean not publishing traditional.  Or they might mean not winning awards.  Or getting kicked out of an organization.

But this type of mind-set is a cancer in the culture and sooner or later leads to gulags and graves.

I can’t push you and I won’t.  If you want to keep your opinions — left, right, moderate, libertarian, anarchist — hidden, it’s your job.  I am not the keeper of your soul.

However, I want you to think of the dark and dank place that fear and that suspicion and the constant spying lead.

And then I want you to think of how good it would feel to get off your knees, stand on two, look your tormentors in the face and say “No more.  I’m free. My thoughts and my opinions, my beliefs, my tastes, my friends are my own.  You have no power over me.  Not now, and not ever again.”

That’s all.  I just want you to think.

Now that the left are threatening to burn down Midwestern pizza parlors, and getting Silicon Valley CEOs fired for doubleplus ungood oldthink, you don’t see many commercials from them these days like this 1981 Amnesty International ad toasting freedom and celebrating speaking your conscience, huh?

Related: “How free speech became right wing:”

Essentially, the left needs to rediscover and reclaim its liberalism. Otherwise, the basic liberties of free thought and free expression will become the exclusive purview of the right.

But at least in America, the left declaring itself “liberal” was simultaneously a stolen base and a rebranding tactic in the early 1920s, after the Wilson administration demonstrated — the hard way — that free speech and “Progressivism” were mutually incompatible terms.

God only knows what they have against pizza, though — it’s Mussolini-approved!

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First up, the Times’ “editorial on NRA convention as accurate as you’d expect,” Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air:

One can imagine that the New York Times editorial board had practically leaped with delight when they thought they’d found hypocrisy and irony in the NRA convention show. Their op-ed for today practically cackles with glee as they excoriate the premier gun-rights group for barring working weapons from their annual gathering. The problems with it start in the lead paragraph — indeed, in the very first sentence (via Instapundit):

Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Wow! Sick burn, dudes. Except, er, that it’s not at all true, as the Tennessean explained … three days ago:

The National Rifle Association and the Music City Center have confirmed that gun owners with the proper carry permits can bring their guns with them into the center during the association’s convention, which will be held there this weekend.

A spokeswoman for the center said its policy is to follow state law and to allow the organizations holding events inside the facility to decide whether they wish for people to carry their guns inside.

Music City Center spokeswoman Mary Brette Clippard confirmed to The Tennessean on Tuesday afternoon that the NRA had no problem with gun owners with the proper gun permits bringing their weapons inside.

So the entire first paragraph was entirely ignorant of the NRA’s actual position and the reality of gun ownership. Well, that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s read the New York Times on the issue of gun rights, or several other topics, for that matter. But hey, maybe the editorial board just got off to a bad start.

No, it’s gets worse, as Ed writes. Meanwhile, the Times’ crosstown center-left rivals make the same mistake:

As Charles C.W. Cooke writes in a post titled, “New York Times Kicks off NRA Convention Coverage with Massive Lie:”

I noted when the New York Daily News peddled this same falsehood earlier in the week, the only guns that will have their firing pins removed are those that are presented for examination within the convention’s attendant trade show. This is standard practice. Why? Well, because the trade show guns are not for sale; they are not there to be fired; and they cannot be removed from their display cases. They exist only to demonstrate to attendees what each company has on offer.

To their credit, NBC’s low-rent discount cable access network did issue a correction after repeating the same falsehoods:


When will the Times?


As Ed Morrissey writes, “If this is the quality of the New York Times’ editors, it doesn’t leave much confidence in the newspaper’s reporting.”

Is there anyone left who has confidence in the Times’ reporting?

In the old days, the left railed against the eeeevils of Big Business, whether it was Upton Sinclair versus the meatpackers, or demonizing the men who built America’s network of railroads with the folk Marxist twang of “Robber Barons.” But these days, as we’ve seen in the past few weeks with Starbucks’ Howard Schultz and Apple’s Tim Cook, American business is almost totally onboard with the left’s social agenda. Comcast’s MSNBC channel and Viacom’s Daily Show and all three of the broadcast network’s news programs are effectively daily in-kind contributions to the Democrat Party.

But individual small businesses are a lot more random in their thinking, which is why the left hates them, unless they obediently conform to the Gleichschaltung. Millionaire filmmaker Michael Moore, who poses as a big lovable stubbly-faced friend of the working man, gave the game away in 2002:

You know in my town the small businesses that everyone wanted to protect? They were the people that supported all the right-wing groups. They were the Republicans in the town, they were in the Kiwanas, the Chamber of Commerce – people that kept the town all white. The small hardware salesman, the small clothing store salespersons, Jesse the Barber who signed his name three different times on three different petitions to recall me from the school board. F**k all these small businesses – f**k ‘em all! Bring in the chains. The small businesspeople are the rednecks that run the town and suppress the people. F**k ‘em all. That’s how I feel.

Flash-forward to today, and that’s how Moore’s fellow leftists feel about a a small-town family-owned business, a pizza parlor in a town with a population of about 2,300 people. At the moment, the collective left is currently losing its collective mind when their attempt to destroy it backfired. To put a balm over any twinges of guilt, they’re paraphrasing the infamous cri de coeur of legendary Washington mayor and crack addict Marion Barry: the pizzeria set us up! At Hot Air, Allahpundit explores the “reasoning” that creates a Memories Pizza Truther:

It adds up. ABC57 reporter Alyssa Marino walks through the door of the pizzeria during a Category Five news-storm over RFRA and asks, “Anyone here got a problem with catering gay weddings?” The pizzeria employees slink away, knowing what a “yes” would mean for their careers. But not Memories CEO Crystal O’Connor. As usual, she’s one step ahead of the game. Instantly she recognizes that if she says yes to Marino, the left will go apesh*t, flooding her business with crank calls, death threats, and nasty online reviews. The business will close temporarily. And then enraged conservatives will rally to her side, showering her with solidarity cash beyond her wildest small-town dreams. The GoFundMe take as I write this: $528,000 and counting. It’s a scam, engineered by an unassuming but quietly brilliant pizza-shop owner whose ability to anticipate partisan strikes and counterstrikes really should have her in charge of a Fortune 500 PR company. Coming soon: The Barbara Walters interview and then a bestselling book. She’ll retire by 40. Watch the clip below and you’ll see what I mean. No one as slick and comfortable on camera as O’Connor is could have possibly stumbled innocently into this culture-war clusterfark. She’s the “Gone Girl” of religious liberty.

Heh. In reality of course, her family’s business was the random victim of an Alinsky-style demolition by the leftwing mob, as Drew M. writes at Ace of Spades, praising PJTV alumnus Dana Loesch of The Blaze for setting the pushback against their tactics into motion:

The old model of the Outrage Brigades was to pick a target, call in the mob and hound the target out of polite company. Think of Justine Sacco. Well, a new model may develop from the Memories Pizza fiasco….the left still tries to destroy an innocent person who has the temerity to express an unapproved thought but instead of being destroyed by the lynch mob, the target is supported and literally enriched by the experience.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go and now the hatemongers are upset. Naturally they aren’t reexamining their tactics or beliefs, they are doing what insane people always do…delve into deeper and deeper into comforting fantasies about how their victims are really powerful oppressors engaged in a complex conspiracy.

Check out this tweet and the responses to it. They really believe that the people at Memories Pizza organized this whole thing to scam people out of money.

This is fantastic news.

Right now the the Go Fund Me campaign is well north of half a million dollars. Here’s the thing, I don’t care if the family takes all the money and spends in on hookers and blow. The point is the left thought they could destroy someone and make an example of them to quiet future Thought Crimes. It didn’t work. In fact, it backfired spectacularly.

We need to do this EVERY TIME these bastards do this to someone. Yes, it will get old, a little expensive and real grifters will show up and have to be avoided. But this is how you defeat the left. Make their tactics backfire. Show them that far from silencing people, every time they try to knock one person down, thousands will be there to lift them back up.

As Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File, the left is suffering from a massive combined overdose of Selma Envy (QED: the National Journal’s hapless Ron Fornier) and “Megalothymia:”

Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It’s a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato’s concept of “thumos” or “thymos” and put a “mega” in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that “mega” makes everything more cool.

But that’s not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect.

Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.

And boy howdy, do we have a problem with megalothymia in America today. Everywhere you look there are moral bullies utterly uninterested in conversation, introspection, or persuasion who are instead hell-bent on grinding down people they don’t like to make themselves feel good. If you took the megalothymia out of Twitter, millions of trolls would throw their smartphones into the ocean.

Make no mistake: This is a problem across the ideological spectrum, because it is a problem of human nature in general and modernity in particular. But in this context, it’s a special malady of elite liberalism.

At Ricochet, Jon Gabriel dubs the left “The Sore Winners of the Culture War.” “The Left started the culture war, won it, and now roams the countryside shooting the wounded.” Only figuratively for the moment, the Internet equivalent, as Sonny Bunch writes at the Washington Free Beacon, of the riot that destroys the neighborhood pizza parlor at the end of Do the Right Thing* but that could just be a matter of time. Or as Rick Wilson writes at Federalist, “Someday, a Christian shopkeeper who becomes the focus of the 4chan or Reddit Rage Machine will be killed by some militant atheist or black bloc kid or some other flavor of crazy:”

If, following a breathless media report, it’s okay to destroy the business of someone who objects to you or your lifestyle on religious grounds, why not burn their home down? Does someone like that really deserve to have a place to live? Why not torch his cars? His kids are allowed in school? Hell, why not drag those hateful, homophobic bigots outside and hang them, pour encourager les autres? Of course, it couldn’t happen here, says America’s justice-warrior class, “We just want you to stop having Wrong Thoughts.”

The Rage Machine’s footsoldiers are unable to imagine consequence, or accountability–and it shows. They’ve been told what the Wrong Thoughts are and, by Tyson, they’re going to punish the people who hold them. You might think some vestigial moral center of the Left would rein in their vanguard, but as in so many cases before, they’re hiding behind the “it can’t happen here” argument. It resonates well in their minds–and with their media enablers.

I imagine that promise sits less comfortably with the uneasy ghosts of Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and a hundred other less-known excursions into correcting the Wrong Thoughts of the Wrong People.

In the meantime, another journalist-turned SJW is acting out her own version of the megalothymiamanical Memories Pizza Truther, as we’ll see right after the page break.

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Question Asked and Answered

April 2nd, 2015 - 6:18 pm

“Can Greeks Become Germans?”

— Thomas Friedman, the New York Times, July 19, 2011.

“Greeks Prepare to Nationalize Banks…”

—Headline today at the Drudge Report, linking to this London Telegraph article:

Greece no longer has enough money to pay the IMF €458m on April 9 and also to cover payments for salaries and social security on April 14, unless the eurozone agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim bail-out deal in time.

“We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,” said a senior official.

“We may have to go into a silent arrears process with the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and means that the clock will start to tick much faster,” the source told The Telegraph.

What could go wrong?

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. In the wake of the January 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and over a dozen others, which the MSM immediately and erroneously blamed on Sarah Palin’s clip art, the MSM rushed in lockstep to condemn violent rhetoric, and demanded that both politicians and the media censor themselves. One contributor to the left-leaning publication National Journal insisted that violent rhetoric should be treated in the same fashion “that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums:”

National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wants to raise the bar on decorum to an entirely new level. On Thursday’s MSNBC airing of “Hardball,” Hirsh told host Chris Matthews certain “gun” terms should be stricken from political discourse…His proposal? Make such language inappropriate in the same racial slurs are inappropriate.

“That’s the kind of language I think we got to have a hard think about now,” Hirsh said. “Do we really want to continue to use that kind of language at these levels? Or, should there be kind of a social sanction, not a legal one, but a moral sanction in the way that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums. Stop using that kind of language, those kinds of metaphors.”

Certainly, many would view comparing someone to a Holocaust denier a slur that’s in the same league with violent, eliminationist rhetoric. Which makes this passage in a new National Journal article written by a young socialist justice warrior posing as a journalist highly problematic, in a piece titled “Scientists Tell Smithsonian to Ditch Koch Money.” (Link safe, goes to Twitchy):

The push arrives amid revelations that Smithsonian scientist and climate-denier Wei-Hock Soon raked in roughly $1.2 million dollars from the fossil-fuel industry while failing to disclose a conflict of interest. One of the founders of Soon’s research was the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Does Mr. Soon deny that the climate exists? Now that would be news! In the interim, we await the layers and layers of editors and fact checkers at National Journal to condemn the use of a metaphor freighted with such a violent subtext. But we won’t hold our breath:

Related: “Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming.”

Since the MSM long ago exited the profession of journalism in order to be Democrat operatives with bylines, are there any topics still left in which the MSM wishes to be fair and balanced (to coin a slogan) when discussing?

Starbucks Dials Back Racialist Campaign

March 22nd, 2015 - 2:46 pm

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Imposes His Racial Hang-ups On America,” John Nolte wrote yesterday at Big Government, and as Tom Blumer added at NewsBusters, USA Today was eager to use their newspaper as a vehicle to promote Schultz’s racialism, bundling the above multipage folder into their papers yesterday. Fortunately, as Reuters (no stranger to leftwing evangelicalism themselves) reports today, Schultz or someone wiser at his company realized that having 20-something clerks lecture their customers on race was a staggeringly stupid idea for all concerned:

Starbucks Corp head Howard Schultz told employees on Sunday they will no longer be encouraged to write “Race Together” on drinks cups, but the company’s effort to promote discussion of racial issues “is far from over”.

The world’s biggest coffee chain kicked off a U.S. race relations campaign last week when it published full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers with the words “Shall We Overcome?” at centre page and “RaceTogether” and the Starbucks logo near the bottom. Employees behind the counter were also given the option of writing “Race Together” on customers’ cups.

The campaign was met with skepticism on social media, with many complaining the company was overstepping it boundaries with a campaign on sensitive cultural topics that had no place in the coffee shop’s lines.

Well, yes:

Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist had a slightly different take on Schultz’s mad scheme; in her opinion, he doesn’t view himself as a far left college headmaster, but as a fundamentalist preacher eager to use his underlings as missionaries to spread the socialist gospel, ala Father Coughlin or Rev. Wright. As Hemingway wrote, “With Race Together, Starbucks Is Using Worst Of Evangelical Practices:”

The whole campaign reminded me so much of this story from 2004, when an American Airlines pilot got on the loudspeaker and asked passengers who were Christian to raise their hands. Then he suggested to the ones who raised their hands that they spend the remainder of the flight trying to convert those who hadn’t. The passengers were so confused by the request that they wondered if the pilot was a terrorist.

Listen, I love few things more than sharing the good news that Jesus has triumphed over sin, death and Satan with others and I hate racism. But there’s a reason why the American Airlines pilot and the Starbucks approaches freak people out! Yes, part of it is that there’s a time and place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discuss difficult social problems. But also, these things are highly ineffective when done outside of a personal relationship.

Both of these approaches also exhibit extreme vocational confusion.

* * * * * * *

Simply flying a plane to the best of your ability and bringing hundreds of passengers safely from one point to another is a great way to serve your neighbor. You don’t need to hand out cross pins or get on the loudspeaker and introduce people to Jesus to make it a good work.

It’s curious; for leftwing consumers, simply knowing that a CEO disagrees with this week’s stance on gay marriage or Obamacare is enough to get him fired or have his chain boycotted. But a leftwing CEO feels perfectly entitled to proselytize the Gleichschaltung to his customers.

Exit question: How long would Starbucks permit a “barista” to enthusiastically preach the real gospel to his customers as an aide to racial healing?

By the way, speaking of the Gleichschaltung, I stopped going to Starbucks on a regular basis two or three years ago when they bowed to Obamacare-related laws and began printing calorie counts on their menu boards. It wasn’t so much paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee that’s essentially a warm milkshake that was problematic, but being hit in the face that I now had an additional 500 calories or more to burn off at the gym that night. Now with their CEO having dropped the mask and gone the full Bullworth-meets-Eric Holder on his customers, I realize I was simply ahead of the curve in avoiding their product.

But hey, as they say at MSNBC’s parent network:

“Starbucks’s new campaign is yet another sign of the relentless politicization of American culture,” Jonah Goldberg writes today:

It’s ironic. The Obama years were supposed to usher in an era of racial harmony. That didn’t happen — which presumably is why Schultz feels the need to help mend our racial wounds. What has happened, however, is that hordes of college graduates, unable to find jobs suitable to their degrees, have ended up toiling away at places like Starbucks.It’s kind of ingenious. Since sociology majors can’t find relevant jobs, Schultz is making the jobs they have relevant to their majors. If this becomes a trend, maybe my dog walkers will start reciting Proust in French on their perambulations.

As a business decision, I find the whole thing bizarre. If I don’t have my coffee in the morning, I get a headache that feels like a Hell’s Angel is trying to press his meaty thumb through my forehead. This is not the most propitious moment to engage me in a conversation about my “race journey.” Worse, Starbucks lines are already long. How much longer will they get when the barista takes 20 minutes out of his or her job to debate the Moynihan Report with a customer?

On Red Eye last night, Rob Long made a great observation — there’s no Starbucks in Ferguson. If Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO wants to really start a dialogue about race, perhaps he needs to put his company’s money where is mouth is, and start there.

Meanwhile, David P. Goldman, writing in his “Spengler” column at PJM wants to start a dialogue about the truly important issues that vex us all: It’s “Time for a National Conversation About Why Starbucks Coffee Is Disgusting.”

By the way, as with all “Progressive” concepts, Schultz’s thinking is stuck in America’s distant past — it’s always Alabama in 1963 for the left, unless it’s 1933 and they’re searching for their next Roosevelt. But in the real 21st century America, my local town in Northern California has a widely divergent racial culture filled Asians from Japan, China and Korea; people of Spanish and Mexican descent, and people of pallor like myself. And by and large, they seem to get on pretty darn well. Oh to be a fly on a wall when a white barista lectures an Asian or someone of Latino origin to be more harmonious in their race relations.

Lest you wind up in one of Hillary’s “Fun Camps” for political reeducation.

Exit Question: “Why Is There No Starbucks Coffee House in Selma?”

Unexpectedly!

March 16th, 2015 - 1:40 pm

We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we?

 

As far as the automated dining service, Jazz Shaw writes, “It’s a terribly impersonal service as compared to a bartender or waitress who stops to chat with you, but it gets the job done:”

I ran into one of these setups at the Philadelphia airport this winter and they work surprisingly well. If you plan to pay by credit or debit card (which is the only option in some cases) you barely interact with a human at all. You browse the drinks and food on the touch screen, place your order, swipe your card, and a short while later somebody strolls up with your food and beverage, says hello and drops them off. It’s a terribly impersonal service as compared to a bartender or waitress who stops to chat with you, but it gets the job done.

Of course, that last phrase is the big issue here, isn’t it? It gets the job done. That job used to be done by a person. Now it’s essentially a robot. So those workers are no longer on the payroll, but hopefully they’ll catch on someplace else. Unfortunately, as Seattle is finding out, employers who run single outlets and don’t have the backing and buffer range of a major chain often won’t be able to make the shift in technological infrastructure required to cut back on staffing while staying open. Those folks will shut down, and it’s apparently already beginning in Washington state.

You know… if only somebody had tried to warn them.

Unexpectedly.

Update: Jonah Goldberg explored the racialist origins of the minimum wage in his 2008 book, Liberal Fascism:

[Early "Progressive" stalwart Edward Alsworth Ross] was a showman, but his ideas fit squarely within the worldview of progressive economics, on both sides of the Atlantic. Consider the debate over the minimum wage. The controversy centered on what to do about what Sidney Webb called the “unemployable class.”It was Webb’s belief, shared by many of the progressive economists affiliated with the American Economic Association, that establishing a minimum wage above the value of the unemployables’worth would lock them out of the market, accelerating their elimination as a class. This is essentially the modern conservative argument against the minimum wage, and even today, when conservatives make it, they are accused of—you guessed it—social Darwinism. But for the progressives at the dawn of the fascist moment, this was an argument for it. “Of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,”Webb observed, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them unrestrainedly to compete as wage earners.”30
Ross put it succinctly: “The Coolie cannot outdo the American, but he can underlive him.”Since the inferior races were content to live closer to a filthy state of nature than the Nordic man, the savages did not require a civilized wage. Hence if you raised minimum wages to a civilized level, employers wouldn’t hire such miscreants in preference to “fitter”specimens, making them less likely to reproduce and, if necessary, easier targets for forced sterilization.
And of course, even beyond its racialist origins, a high minimum wage also makes it that much more difficult for a small business to succeed in general, which “Progressives” then and now consider a feature, and not a bug.