Home > Economics - General > The lunatics have taken over the asylum

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

November 27th, 2009

A day ago, it looked as if Malcolm Turnbull could survive at least long enough to implement his deal with Labor, a deal that would deliver a drastically weakened emissions trading scheme with massive overcompensation of every possible big business interest. It would be marvellous to report that a popular uprising against rent-seeking lobby groups changed all this. But, in fact, Turnbull’s leadership has been rendered untenable by a Liberal Party base, and commentariat, that has entered a state of collective insanity in which the most absurd conspiracy theories are taken as a starting point for reasoning. Over time on this blog, I’ve seen even seemingly sensible commenters of a libertarian or conservative cast of mind succumb to this tribalist lunacy. The handful who have resisted (hi, Tokyo Tom) are increasingly regarded as “beyond the pale”.

From delusional beliefs on climate science follow equally delusional beliefs on political strategy, symbolised by the 37 votes for a Kevin Andrews spill yesterday and by the apparent certainty that, assuming Turnbull holds his ground, a majority of Liberals will vote for the delusionist candidate, Tony Abbott

Amazingly, even the editorialist at the Oz, whose columnists have uniformly promoted delusional conspiracy theories recognises the hopelessness of such a stance. as the Oz says

In truth, there is nowhere for Coalition members to go on this issue, other than to support the amended and improved bill and claim as their work the concessions they have wrung from the government. The introduction of a cap-and-trade ETS has been bipartisan policy for more than two years and it is supreme folly for rebels within the Liberals to believe they can go to an election as the destroyers, rather than the enablers, of such a scheme.

There may be room for the Nationals to argue against an ETS in the bush, but it is politically naive to think that voters in the inner-city areas of Melbourne and Sydney would welcome such regressive policies from their MPs. How exactly would Mr Abbott, for example, propose campaigning on this issue in seats such as North Sydney and Wentworth, where Liberal voters are determined to see action on climate change? Having a bob each way on the issue will not go down well with voters who have followed the debate and who expect, as Mr Turnbull says, responsible political parties to take responsible action

There is no reasoning with lunatics, and my attempts to do so have gone nowhere. At this point, we just have to hope that they will remain, as they are at present, in the minority, and that they can be kept as far as possible from political power.

There’s no guarantee that sanity will prevail. As the conman in Huckleberry Finn says ‘Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?” But, as I recall, he ends up tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

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  1. Ubiquity
    December 1st, 2009 at 13:45 | #1

    @Nanks

    Are you suggesting that we extingusih free will for all the despair it creates ?
    Better still ask yourself how you ended up on this blog and was it of your own free will or were you compelled by the dark forces of libertarianism to have your say ?

    Free will is about making choices. You may choose to be a saint without God; or to be your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.

    You may like the idea of having your life determined by greater forces than are within your control, but others choose even in despair to own there free will to the greatest extent possible.

    @Don

    Your deterministic approach to physics has allowed you to side step the subjective reality of a living, breathing, thinking homosapien whose actions is currently facilitating the introduction of an ETS.

    You guys are the classic technocrats.

  2. Freelander
    December 1st, 2009 at 13:53 | #2

    Ubiquity :@Nanks
    Are you suggesting that we extingusih free will for all the despair it creates ?Better still ask yourself how you ended up on this blog and was it of your own free will or were you compelled by the dark forces of libertarianism to have your say ?
    Free will is about making choices..

    Computers make choices, regularly. Do they also have free will?

    By the way, determinism is relatively meaningless also, but orders of magnitude less meaningless than ‘free will’.

  3. Ubiquity
    December 1st, 2009 at 14:11 | #3

    @freelander

    Its difficult for a technocrat to grapple with what appears to be a paradox.

  4. Freelander
    December 1st, 2009 at 14:37 | #4

    @Ubiquity

    It is not a paradox. A paradox is capable of being stated. No one has yet said exactly what free will is. There is no paradox, only mysticism.

  5. Ubiquity
    December 1st, 2009 at 15:25 | #5

    @ Freelander

    Please note I said “APPEARS to be a paradox”.

    As for your reference to “mystcism” you have no basis to describe free will in this light.

    And this might help you to discover that you have free will:

    “The will is the most essential characteristic of any person. The extent to which the will and its freedom of action are restrained beyond the natural restraints of its nature is the extent to which a person is depersonalized.

    For example: When you gotta go, you gotta go! To be restrained from defecating in a normal manner will result in soiling oneself and one’s clothes. That’s, generally speaking, a degrading and depersonalizing experience, except of course for someone, like an infant, who is unable to exercise any control. But even a child soon learns that: that warm comfortable feeling doesn’t last long, and it provides an incentive to learn better ways to get relief and avoid the discomfort. It is the knowledge of the ability to exercise some control that provides the freedom to avoid such discomforts.”

  6. melaleuca
    December 1st, 2009 at 15:42 | #6

    Mark Hill,

    More intelligent libertarians like, Jason Soon and John Humphreys, do not believe in free will. Free will is an unscientific, supernatural concept.

  7. Freelander
    December 1st, 2009 at 15:49 | #7

    @Ubiquity

    APPEARS to be mysticism. Is mysticism.

    @melaleuca

    Too true. As do more intelligent and thoughtful anyones, including philosophers. ‘Free will’ is a totally meaningless concept, which is what Ubiquity should find if he or she attempts to say, clearly, exactly what it is.

  8. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:10 | #8

    Fascinating that our libertarian naif Ubiquity uses an excremental analogy – and such a literally childish one at that – to illustrate his alarmingly crude (in multiple meanings of the word) understanding of the notion of free will.

    I say fascinating because as I noted on Catallaxy more than once, the worst afflicted and most unrestrained money and market fetishists among libertarian economic/finance nerds ALWAYS incorporate excremental and anal function references into their everyday discourse and argument.

    And in very important but probably unconscious ways, their obsession with filthy lucre and the movement of money is linked to this generalised excremental vision which in some cases extends to even family members.

    I’m sure there’s a thesis in there somewhere.

  9. Ubiquity
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:19 | #9

    @ Freelander, The “Mystical” argument is just rheotoric.

    @ Melaleuca there are many philosphers and scientist who have views contrary to the determsinistic one. PS . Are you using the consenus argument to discredit commentary. I promise I won’t do the same.

  10. paul walter
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:23 | #10

    You think some of these folk are anal-retentive, Philomena?

  11. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:30 | #11

    The glaring problem with every 21st century self-proclaimed “libertarian” is they all to a man – and they are nearly all men it seems to me, working in IT/finance/sales/advertising – have no history.

    Which is all the more damning given that the curriculum of early secondary school at the very latest informs students that since Aristotle human beings have understood that “free will” to the extent it exists is constrained and limited – often fatally – by necessity.

  12. Alice
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:40 | #12

    @Philomena
    Philo – Ive been to their websites like Catalllyx and they indeed are to a man, mostly men. I think that speaks volumes in itself. They ignore what the better half wants actually (I know Ill get pulled down over saying this…but they ignore the concern for other people, the future generation, so implicit, so hardwired, so genetically ingrained into the female of the species…)

    I know I will get flayed alive for saying this but I happen to think its true…there is no other explanation for the absence of females on Catallyx???…I would suggest they have left, just dropped in and left, failing to find ideas they can identify with…so its left to disruptive mostly young aggressive turks to push the agenda (but its definitely not everyone’s agenda …despite its certain appeal amongst agresive males).

  13. paul walter
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:52 | #13

    Amen.
    I’ll just add following.
    I copped a lecture from someone who suggested that I ought to be greatful; I didn’t do economics and did generalist stuff instead. Since the sort of people you mention are not educated in the way many others are, they are hardly educated enough to contextualise their skills (eg taking their shoes off to count beyond ten) , as occurs with genuinely uneducated, unself reflexive, individuated and commodified (en-gendered?) subjects.
    According to Kenneth Davidson, most of their stuff is self referential and closed circular any way, a bit like the people who built the Bomb as to a conception of what they were doing beyond “science”.

  14. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:55 | #14

    Yes Paul, they could well have flow problems. As well as biological species shame issues to add to the noxious mix of their psychopathological state and the way that manifests itself politically.

    Alice, I get the impression most of them are womanless, or have broken up with a woman, or unhappy with current arrangements and are as angry as hornets at all women because of the fallout which as research shows hits divorced/separated/estranged men most, emotionally and psychically.

    Its scary stuff experienced even in a displaced one-on-one manner, filtered by a computer screen and impenetrable physical distance and when talking about even abstract non-gendered political ideas with a stranger, but someone who they know to be a woman who happens to be merely opposing and challenging them on their trog economic rationalist (etc) politics.

    Amazing dynamics come into play. And then there are the group dynamics in that scenario. Another story!

  15. jquiggin
    December 1st, 2009 at 17:23 | #15

    I’m calling a halt to Catallaxy-related discussions here. There’s some exciting stuff happening in Australia and the world, more important than intra-blogosphere backscratching/biting (an interesting contrast in connotation, BTW). Let’s focus on that.

  16. paul walter
    December 1st, 2009 at 17:39 | #16

    Apparently all to do with the death of the extended familiy and craft industry from the advent of mercantile capitalism and the industrial revolution.
    Alienated adults create alienated children. Sons are sensitised to mothers, but are therefore vulnerable to commodification in employment due to over sensitivity emanating out of the close relationship between mother and son in the absence of a father who’s also been bought and sold by the system. They work in regimented, often sexually quarantined situations to ensure the isolation needed for being moulded into a soul who ‘s loyalty goes instead to whoever employs them. They are returned eventually to marriage, but with female people who have become a mystery to them, and who don’t know them either, who are not like mum, who loved them and may side with them against a daughter in law who is not good enough for Mum’s Sonny Jim.
    So from this sort of situation, described in books like Sons and Lovers, where disillusioned women gain consolation in their children, particularly sons, while the also baffled males flee the unfamilar surroundings of domesticity and maybe daddy’s little girl which also creates friction between spouses, for the sanctuary of the pub and mates of like type, further reinforcing the process, instigating the processes of reification and commodification, so that we still have anal pratts as much now as in the nineteeth century , where denizens of books like the Forsyte Saga, absolutely unfamiliar with each other and the others needs, ruined each others lives as surely as many people do today.
    (whew!)

  17. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 18:00 | #17

    Fabulous, Paul.

    Hats off.

  18. paul walter
    December 1st, 2009 at 18:03 | #18

    Philomena, you seriously don’t know how you’ve just cheered me up. True blue.

  19. Alice
    December 1st, 2009 at 18:08 | #19

    @jquiggin
    JQ – there is more ibnteresting things happening I agree…but the absence of females on caltallyx has me intrigued (and Philomena) and the annoynace that we know they drop in quite aggresively and indusltingly to people trying to have a qy=uiet reasonable discussion.

    JQ dont ignore gender aspects. I think they exists in both mine and Philomena’s observations. There are more interesting, more realistic, more in tune arguments, with more reasonable people than those ayt Catallyx. But JQ – whereb have all the women (?fled) to?

    It cannot be a reasonable fair minded argument they are pushing….and Ill stick to my guns on this because women end up in so many areas being sidelined. I dont want it to happen with the ETS.

    Sorry but what Phlio and I have observed is correct re Catallyx. It does matter.

  20. Alice
    December 1st, 2009 at 18:09 | #20

    spelling shocking – sorry

  21. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 18:26 | #21

    No way anyone can understand the world and all that’s in it unless they can also see it through the eyes of women, Alice, that’s very true. Great to find someone with the chutzpah, humour, verbal facility and political, intellectual, cognitive and emotional nouse and gender empathy to understand what I’m saying (and vice-versa) on an overwhelmingly male-dominated (aren’t they all) political blog.

    To our amazing good fortune, Alice!

  22. Alice
    December 1st, 2009 at 19:56 | #22

    @Philomena
    Ill raise a toast to that Philo and lets keep sticking up for the views of women (and notice if they have fled the dry arena a la Catllyx..its kind of telling and says more about them than women). But if any Catallyx women want to get in here and debate both of us…please send better some better competition that Sarah Palin fan! What a flop she was!

  23. Philomena
    December 1st, 2009 at 20:03 | #23

    Aliice, there aren’t any avowed women on Catallaxy apart from a “Tal” who is obviously a man: he loves talking about porn, frequents brothels, hates with a passion feminists, abhors and repudiates paid childcare, maternity leave, anti-discrim law, etc., loves Sarah Palin, Bush, and JohHo, hates Rudd and Obama and wants to exterminate polar bears.

    A very nasty piece of male work.

  24. Freelander
    December 1st, 2009 at 20:28 | #24

    @Ubiquity

    If that ‘free will’ is not mysticism demonstrate it. Put some flesh on it. As for your apparent ‘free will’ v ‘determinism’ dichotomy, there is none except in your imagination. Whether there is such a thing as ‘free will’, whether such a thing has any meaning, has nothing to do with whether determinism is true or not. Regarding determinism, I don’t believe in it or not believe in it. I don’t know and don’t particularly care. I can not see that it is something that is knowable anyway. ‘Free will’ whatever it means is not “the absence of determinism”. If it was ‘free will’ would have to be attributed much more widely than I assume you would be willing to. Does a non-deterministic turnip have ‘free will’, Baldrick?

    Libertarianism and its adherents have a rather superficial understanding of things that are nowhere as obvious as they and their philosophy imagines. That is why they huddle together in insular little groups of ‘true believers’ so they don’t have to deal with a critical light being shone on their nakedness. They enjoy the ‘unexamined life’.

  25. Alice
    December 2nd, 2009 at 18:06 | #25

    @Freelander
    Insular little groups pf men, as both I and Philo jhave observed as well Freeelander. The world isnt all about male preferences or I would like to believe there has been some movements towards equity in which case either Catallyx or ALS should be able to throw some females at the argument (who arent males in disguise).

    And as we speak idiots like Barnaby Jouce in on the frot bench…

    Ive seen everythig possible from the libs. The ditching of the moderates and the move (backwards) to hardliner dinosaurs. Good luck with that as well. I think they have just dug their own grave. I dont think Im wrong on that. We need the DD to now slaughter them.

  26. Alice
    December 2nd, 2009 at 18:06 | #26

    @Freelander
    Insular little groups pf men, as both I and Philo jhave observed as well Freeelander. The world isnt all about male preferences or I would like to believe there has been some movements towards equity in which case either Catallyx or ALS should be able to throw some females at the argument (who arent males in disguise).

    And as we speak idiots like Barnaby Jouce in on the front bench…

    Ive seen everythig possible from the libs. The ditching of the moderates and the move (backwards) to hardliner dinosaurs. Good luck with that as well. I think they have just dug their own grave. I dont think Im wrong on that. We need the DD to now slaughter them.

  27. Freelander
    December 2nd, 2009 at 18:28 | #27

    @Alice

    No need to rush a DD – ‘we can do them slowly’. As for Ubiquity looks like he has opted for Obsurity.

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