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The culture wars are over. They lost.

November 8th, 2012


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  1. Jim Rose
    November 11th, 2012 at 18:44 | #1

    As usual, the conspiracy theories on campaign finance are undisciplined by theory or fact. Obama’s 2:1 financial advantage on McCain did little to increase his majority in 2008.

    There is not much evidence that big war chests make much of a difference. Millionaires have had little success at buying election for them to office.

  2. November 11th, 2012 at 18:46 | #2

    Sancho :@rog
    Australia is much more sclerotic but also much more stable, so we’re not likely to see the same overwhelming rejection of neoconservatism

    The ALP is so neo-con that this proposition is moot.

  3. Katz
    November 11th, 2012 at 18:55 | #3

    Neoconservatism never captured the imagination of Australians as it did in the US.

    Opposition to WorkChoices would never have caused the downfall of a government in the US.

    The religious Right is vanishingly small in Australia.

    While climate denialism grows, Australians are more accepting of mainstream science.

    The Right in America is bankrolled by tycoons. Australia is experiencing a little of this, the party system still imposes discipline upon would-be political adventurers.

  4. Jim Rose
    November 11th, 2012 at 19:17 | #4

    @Katz do you have any evidence that the Right in America is bankrolled by tycoons?

  5. Katz
    November 11th, 2012 at 19:54 | #5

    Here’s a test for you JR.

    Instead of asking clumsily disingenuous questions, try googling

    Right wing tycoon funding

    Then find a name and quote it here. Then I’ll assess your ability to extract accurate and relevant information.

    As JFK said, give a man a fish and you feed him once. Give a man a fishing pole and you feed him forever.

  6. Sancho
    November 11th, 2012 at 20:09 | #6


    Precisely. As I said upthread, Obama’s overwhelming victory means that we don’t need to make long arguments in favour of basic, easily-established facts any more.

    It’s now up to conservatives to prove that they’re not simply spouting convenient propaganda for the upper class, while the rest of us get on with discussing what the future should look like.

  7. Katz
    November 11th, 2012 at 20:31 | #7

    JFK also said this about the RWDBs of his day. He nails precisely the looney paranoid fantasies of the Right.

    He is also optimistic about the good sense of Americans.

    The victory of Obama tends to confirm JFK’s optimism. 

    In recent months I have spoken many times about how difficult and dangerous a period it is through which we now move. I would like to take this opportunity to say a word about the American spirit in this time of trial.

    In the most critical periods of our nation’s history, there have always been those fringes of our society who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan, or a convenient scapegoat.

    Financial crises could be explained by the presence of too many immigrants or too few greenbacks.
    War could be attributed to munitions makers or international bankers.
    Peace conferences failed because we were duped by the British or tricked by the French or deceived by the Russians.

    It was not the presence of Soviet troops in Eastern Europe that drove it to communism, it was the sell-out at Yalta. It was not a civil war that removed China from the free world, it was treason in high places. At times these fanatics have achieved a temporary success among those who lack the will or the vision to face unpleasant tasks or unsolved problems.

    But in time the basic good sense and stability of the great American consensus has always prevailed.


    Today’s RWDB’s should be able to perceive their 1960s counterparts.

    If they have any insight and conscience, they ought to feel deep embarrassment.

    Everyone should do themselves a favour and read the entire speech.

  8. November 11th, 2012 at 20:37 | #8

    Hard to work out which is weirder, the content of this report – or the fact that a company has official “prayers” at work:

    “A US coal company headed by a Mitt Romney donor has laid off more than 160 workers in response to President Obama’s election victory.

    Murray Energy said Friday that it had been “forced” to make the layoffs in response to the bleak prospects for the coal industry during Obama’s second term.

    In a prayer circulated by the company, CEO Robert Murray said Americans had voted “in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.”

    “The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders,” Mr. Murray said in the prayer, which was delivered in a meeting with staff members earlier this week.

    “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corporation for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”

  9. November 11th, 2012 at 20:42 | #9


    This is the same Murray Energy that killed a handful of workers resulting in a recent payment of about $1.5million in safety and criminal fines.

  10. Katz
    November 11th, 2012 at 20:46 | #10

    Praise the Lord and pass the pink slips!

  11. Sancho
    November 11th, 2012 at 20:49 | #11


    I’m sure the Lord will forgive them for sacking people they planned to sack in any case, all because Romney wasn’t elected to implement economic reforms he wouldn’t describe unless he got elected.

  12. Jim Rose
    November 11th, 2012 at 21:28 | #12

    @Katz so you have no evidence then.

  13. Jim Rose
    November 11th, 2012 at 21:59 | #13

    Katz, this http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/campaign-finance/ seems to suggest that Obama was outspent by his opponents combined by $50 million, but it is late a night and there are many graphics.

  14. Sancho
    November 11th, 2012 at 21:59 | #14

    “…and because 2 + 2 = 4, we know that…”

    “It does not, leftist, and I will not allow this discussion to continue until you meet the absurd standard of proof I have set for a basic and well-known fact I could learn all about in half a second using Google!”

    “You can’t possibly be serious.”

    “Aha! You have no evidence!”

  15. Jim Rose
    November 11th, 2012 at 22:36 | #15

    @Sancho Cass Sunstein defines a conspiracy theory as: “An effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Of course some conspiracy theories turn out to be true.

    He goes on to argue that millions hold conspiracy theories – that powerful people have worked together to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event.

    Most conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a sharply limited number of relevant information sources.

    Cass Sunstein also argues that many extremists fall in this category; their extremism stems not from irrationality, but from the fact that they have little (relevant) information, and their extremist views are supported by what little they know:

    1. Conspiracy theories generally attribute extraordinary powers to certain agents – to plan, to control others, to maintain secrets, and so forth.

    2. Conspiracy theories overestimate the competence and discretion of officials and bureaucracies, who are assumed to be able to make and carry out sophisticated secret plans, despite abundant evidence that in open societies that government action does not usually remain secret for very long.

    3. Conspiracy theories also assume that the nefarious secret plans are easily detected by members of the public such as themselves without the need for special access to the key information or any investigative resources.

    Sunstein also argued that a distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy

  16. Chris Warren
    November 12th, 2012 at 00:43 | #16

    @John Dawson

    You need to look around. Workers do not freely trade their time or talents. In the Third World workers are beaten and locked in their factories. If they protest against low wages they are arrested and loose employment. In the OECD, if they don’t work they loose their homes and financial security. In the USA they also loose their healthcare. There is no freedom on food stamps.

    You are engaging in denialism. Back in time, the original body of workers that established capitalism was created by forced expulsion of tenant farmers from their livelihoods under Enclosure Laws.

    Bill Gates has not been a billion times more productive than average workers. The capital he claims as is, has been used to sweep up massive surpluses from Microsoft workers. His billions are their missing wages.

    Laissez faire capitalism is only an attempt to guarantee capital freedom to force the rest of society to bow to its demands.

    Laissez faire capitalism is the worst of all possible worlds. it means that the foxes are in charge of the chickens.

    How do you know that people mowing lawns and etc. are not forced to do so under threat of loosing their benefits. That is what “Work for the Dole” amounts to.

    You probably pass wage slaves every day.

    Exactly how did the 25% unemployed in Greece or Spain, freely choose to be unemployed?

    How did they freely choose to have a bank kick them from their homes?

  17. Jim Rose
    November 12th, 2012 at 05:45 | #17

    @Chris Warren the poor and unemployed in the USA are eligible for medicaid, CHIPS and the CORBA subsidy of 65% to stay in their old scheme.

  18. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 06:12 | #18

    @Jim Rose

    Shorter JR: I don’t want a fishing pole. Give me a fish!

  19. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 06:49 | #19

    Steve Kates is the gift that keeps on giving. A taster from a slow motion head explosion in his demand for an apology from The Age:

    Ten, a sexist dismisses women as a lesser breed without the competencies to manage and do the things a man can do. I, on the other hand, have always welcomed women into top jobs and think it is wonderful that women are reaching such levels. As a society we are tapping a wonderful resource other societies do not, and both men and women are the better for it. I feel I shouldn’t have to explain myself, but as someone who supported to the maximum extent Margaret Thatcher (here is a Catallaxy Files post I authored on Thatcher, “The Greatest Woman of the Twentieth Century”.)
    I can hardly think of my political views as tainted with an anti-woman brush. Odd kind of sexism, isn’t it, to support a woman while being anti-woman? Supporting Margaret Thatcher may cut no ice with the left, but if you are thinking in this case about men and women and not left and right, it is hard to pin a sexist tag on someone who would be happy to be governed by a woman and who would trust their political judgment ahead of someone else just because they were a male.


    Kates appears to think that highlighting his association with the fanatics, paranoids, psychopaths and misfits on Catallaxy will somehow help to bolster his case!

    The rest is an unhinged temper tantrum. Kates should be sent to the naughty corner.

  20. JB Cairns
    November 12th, 2012 at 07:15 | #20


    Kates is mad. He lives in a parallel universe where he makes up facts to match his theories.

  21. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 14:06 | #21

    Yes, Kates has a mad view of the world.

    He is correct that the gender gap defeated Romney. He ascribes the disinclination of white women to vote as their male relatives did to being “damaged”.

    Kate’s declined to consider that it is as arguable that white men failed to vote like white women because they are the damaged sex. And here is the root of Kates’ deep-seated sexism (and racism). In Kates’ weird universe, white men are the norm against which the world is measured. This is breathtaking cultural and sexual arrogance.

    And Kates asks why these “damaged” women have not found life partners. Well, lookit, Steve, their only realistic option here is to marry a Republican-voting white man. And he is likely to be narrow, selfish, greedy, emotionally crippled and adhering to as set of values and behaviours inimical to the interests and desires of the Democratic woman. She looks at such a man and recoils. A single life is preferable to being shackled to such a monster.

    And she is right.

  22. November 12th, 2012 at 14:58 | #22

    QED. What a bunch of losers. You cling to the marxists’ hatred of capitalism and regurgitate their straw white man prejudices but without their hope of utopia. Your opponents can lose, but you can never win anything but destruction.

  23. Sancho
    November 12th, 2012 at 15:00 | #23

    @John Dawson

    Now there’s the constructive intellectualism and reasonable spirit of enquiry that served Mitt Romney so well last week.

  24. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 16:37 | #24

    @John Dawson

    Oh c’mon JD, rise above your emotional inarticulacy and tell us what you really think about white women who refuse to vote the same way as their menfolk.

  25. November 12th, 2012 at 17:22 | #25

    @Katz I don’t think of white women as having “menfolk” Katz, any more than I think of men as having “womenfolk”. And I wouldn’t insult half the voting population by assuming that they only just figured out that their ballot was secret.

  26. MG42
    November 12th, 2012 at 17:33 | #26

    John Dawson :
    QED. What a bunch of losers. You cling to the marxists’ hatred of capitalism and regurgitate their straw white man prejudices but without their hope of utopia. Your opponents can lose, but you can never win anything but destruction.

    Ugh, sometimes you think that maybe the right-wing isn’t so bad, then from out of the blue they do something crazy like launch into a self-righteous hyperbolic tirade, state that women are inferior to men or compare homosexuality to bestiality.

  27. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 17:33 | #27

    Do you acknowledge the existence of a gender gap in white votes in the recent US election?

  28. November 12th, 2012 at 18:08 | #28

    If Obama did better with women voters than with men voters, so what? I guess if he promised to put an extra tax on igloos in order to fund zoroastrian temples his eskimo vote might go down and zoroastrian vote might go up. Independent minded eskimos and zoroastrians, however, might decide that for a government to take wealth from those who produced it and give it (less the cost of their bureaucratic waste) to those who didn’t is a destructive injustice and vote for the candidate who promised to reduce taxes and handouts. I know, I know, that didn’t happen, so enjoy your moment, your welcome to it.

  29. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 18:21 | #29

    So why didn’t white women reward Romney for promising to encourage the most economically productive, i.e., white men?

  30. November 12th, 2012 at 19:02 | #30

    @Katz I’ve answered that Katz. But try imagining a world inhabited by adults who want the freedom to look after themselves, rather than a world of children crying for nanny state to look after their tribe more than the other tribe.

  31. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 19:06 | #31

    Where have you answered it? What is that answer?

  32. November 12th, 2012 at 21:01 | #32

    It’s not a matter of the government encouraging any gender or racial group Katz, it’s a matter of the government getting out of the way so people of any gender or race can produce as much as they can and want to. The staggering life giving productivity of the US has been the result of its government doing the best job of getting out of its citizens way. It looks like a majority of Americans have decided they’d rather be like Europeans. If you consider that a victory, enjoy it while you can.

  33. Katz
    November 12th, 2012 at 21:26 | #33

    I wasn’t asking for a précis of Randian polemic.

    I was asking about the reasons for actual behaviour. After all, I am not aware of a gender gap in any other ethno-cultural group.

  34. November 12th, 2012 at 21:50 | #34

    The hypothetical person you describe is selfish in a very small-minded way.

    If they were to get this government service-less, dog-eat-dog, each-person-for-themself nirvana they imagine, they would quickly find themselves in a society with a lot of poor, sick, uneducated and desperate individuals who don’t fully appreciate the fine nuance between being free to ‘produce’ as much as they want free of hindrance and the labour-intensive extractive enterprise often referred to using terms along the lines of: assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, murder, armed robbery with aggravated violence etc…

    After a while that person might come to the conclusion (as people just like that did, in this country more than 100 years ago) that being surrounded by poor, sick, stupid, violent, desperate people was not only unpleasant, unhealthy, dangerous and bothersome but also ultimately quite expensive for them and their friends.

    Then they might come up with the idea that it would be a far more pleasant, healthy, productive etc… place for THEM if these people could have some basics in life such as health, education and a minimum social safety net of some sort to save them from the worst desperation. They might conclude (again, it’s been done before) that a reasonably healthy, disease free workforce with a functioning grasp on the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and a desire to earn more than subsistance handouts would be of, collective, benefit to that person and their “productive” friends.

    Unfortunately, both ‘sides’ of US, UK & Aus politics are determined to pursue the free-market fundamentalist ideology instead.

  35. Sancho
    November 12th, 2012 at 21:50 | #35


    Don’t know why you bother.

    The Republicans managed to turn a huge number of default GOP voters against them and revealed that the developed world considers their social views anachronistic at best, and all John saw was people done goed and voted for freebies.

    It’s a stunningly ignorant line of reasoning even for an American conservative, let alone an Australian who no doubt goes to the polls every few years and votes for a coalition of middle-class welfare dispensers and outright rural socialists.

    Meanwhile, here’s something relevant which simply doesn’t exist on John’s planet:


  36. Chris Warren
    November 12th, 2012 at 23:56 | #36

    @Jim Rose

    So naturally you’ll be able to provide a link showing how many food-stampers actually use

  37. Chris Warren
    November 12th, 2012 at 23:58 | #37

    @Jim Rose

    the poor and unemployed in the USA are eligible for medicaid, CHIPS and the CORBA subsidy of 65% to stay in their old scheme.

    So naturally you’ll be able to provide a link showing how many food-stampers actually use
    these schemes.

  38. Chris Warren
    November 13th, 2012 at 00:00 | #38

    John Dawson :
    QED. What a bunch of losers. You cling to the marxists’ hatred of capitalism and … [more twaddle deleted]

    It seems you have a pathological hatred of social justice. Or is it a ‘learned instinct’?

  39. November 13th, 2012 at 02:20 | #39

    @Megan But you see Megan, contrary to your Marxist mantra, it was precisely those benighted countries like “US, UK & Aus” that raised everyones standard of living including the poorest of its citizens, while every country that decided to do away with those “exploiting” capitalist who owned factories or cows or other such means of production consigned their populations to famines, drudgery, gulags and misery. That’s why semi-capitalist countries needed barbwire to keep people out while socialist countries need it to keep people in.

  40. November 13th, 2012 at 03:14 | #40

    @Chris Warren Your diatribes are too full of nonsensical prejudice to do much with Chris, but a couple of points for the record.

    When you say “Laissez faire capitalism is the worst of all possible worlds. it means that the foxes are in charge of the chickens” you are wrong in theory and historical fact. Capitalism is precisely the system that bans the initiation of force, be it by criminals or governments. Consequently it is the system that released the power of free minds to produce and trade on free markets. It worked because humans are not foxes or chickens, we don’t live by instinct and force but by reason and trade. It was this that lifted the world out of medieval stagnation to the wonders of the world you take for granted.

    You ask “How do you know that people mowing lawns and etc. are not forced to do so under threat of loosing their benefits.” The “threat” of not giving you something is not force. You say I “probably pass wage slaves every day.” Most people I pass every day are what you call “wage slaves” be they lawnmower boys or bank managers, because they trade their work for a wage. But despite what your postmodern professors may have taught you, there is a difference between an Orwellian narrative and reality. If you doubt that you can go live in a place where “wage slavery” under the lash of exploiting capitalists has been expunged: North Korea.

  41. BilB
    November 13th, 2012 at 05:45 | #41

    John Dawson,

    Your #39 is indeed the case. But Capitalism is simple a method of operation, a means to an end. Capitlaism is not an end in itself. When it becomes that it is every bit the failure that International Communism is, and for all of the same reasons.

    You move, in #40, to waxing lyrical and conclude with an example which is the exact opposite to your meaning. North Korea…is…the Capitalist end game where the people are the capital servicing the whims of an entirely seperated and privileged elite.

  42. rog
    November 13th, 2012 at 05:54 | #42

    @John Dawson To be fair those that choose to use North Korea as an example of socialism should also supply an example of laissez faire capitalism. Currently the only country that fits the description is Somalia.

  43. Katz
    November 13th, 2012 at 05:55 | #43


    I bother because I enjoy showing how the simple truth destroys elaborate ideology.

  44. MG42
    November 13th, 2012 at 06:14 | #44

    When will the RW noise machine learn that calling their opponents “Marxists” (like they know what that means despite the frightening aura) and repeating stale slogans asserting their morality does not an argument make?

    Here is a koan for the irredeemable zealots:

    Your absolute rights must necessarily be infringed by living in a society among other people. From that starting point, it’s all a matter of compromise.

  45. Tom
    November 13th, 2012 at 08:45 | #45


    “JR, are you ignorant of the fact that governments both tax AND spend?

    During the 1950s and 1960s the US Govt ran large fiscal surpluses. This state of affairs changed almost permanently in 1968″

    The US government did not run budget surplus back then, they have instead behaved a bit more like Lerner’s functional finance method of reducing public debt to GDP ratio.


  46. Katz
    November 13th, 2012 at 11:38 | #46

    Yeah, my mistake. I misremembered.

  47. November 13th, 2012 at 12:47 | #47

    @Katz What simple truth was that Katz?

  48. November 13th, 2012 at 13:15 | #48

    @MG42 My absolute right MG42 is to be left free to live as I see fit provided I don’t infringe others’ right to do the same. There is only one way that right can be infringed, and that’s by the initiation of force to damage me or steal my property. That’s why a just government bans the initiation of force. In such a society nobody need infringe anyone’s rights, we deal with each other as traders if and when we judge it to be in our interest to do so.

  49. Sancho
    November 13th, 2012 at 13:34 | #49

    @John Dawson

    Of course, by “damage” and “steal” you mean to physically assault you specifically and take the things you have acquired over the life of a middle-class white man.

    We can assume you don’t mean systemic violence, in which a privileged class reserves rights and opportunities for themselves and prevents others from acquiring them.

    If a woman takes your wallet, that offends your principles. If you contribute to sustaining a society which discriminates against women in high-income jobs, your principles are intact.

  50. November 13th, 2012 at 13:39 | #50

    @BilB No Bilb, white is not black, slavery is not freedom, North Korea is not capitalism, it is the inevitable end game of 20th Century communism. In the face of failure after failure in country after country our Marxist professors denied and denied then blamed bad weather, bad leadership, the CIA, you name it. If they’d had their way the whole world would be like North Korea by now, but without the food and oil from semi capitalist countries to keep them alive. And it’s those professors who passed their wisdom on to the professors and teachers who teach you lot today.

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