195 thoughts on “The culture wars are over. They lost.

  1. @John Dawson

    That’s it. That’s exactly the sort of thing you need to keep saying.

    Keep telling Australians that criticising neoconservatism is an attack on capitalism.

    Keep saying that standing for nothing means asking why the Liberal and Republican parties dodge scrutiny and won’t discuss hard policy.

    And please – PLEASE – continue to sneer at the union movement for not accepting serfdom.

  2. @Jim Rose

    Immigration or refugee policy?

    There’s been a political consensus on immigration for decades: bring ’em in as fast as possible, as long as they’ve got qualifications.

  3. @Sancho I wasn’t sneering at the unions. Unionists, as distinct from corrupt union officials and Labor politicians who use them as cannon and ballot box fodder, are productive. My point was that they, unlike Leftist academics and hangers on understand that they need capitalists for jobs and a decent life, so there’s a limit to their toleration of nihilistic discontents whose hatred of capitalism would consign them to serfdom.

  4. @John Dawson
    Ah yes. The academics.

    You also have my sincere encouragement to take the Republican cue and attack people like Nate Silver, on the grounds that mathematics and data analysis are a dark sorcery intended to mislead the faithful.

  5. I rather like the idea of a “Wheel Tax”.

    We ‘winners’ could sell it by calling it a “Great Big New Wheel Tax”. All wheels would be taxed. That way we could all go back to the dark ages, or better still somewhere even more dark and even more aged.

    Under a Great Big New Wheel Tax all injustice in the world would be removed because the capitalist world can only operate with Wheels. Once we collectively organise to tax the Koch brother’s Wheels so heavily that they stop being capitalists we can move on to small business owners and tax the wheels on their delivery bicycles so that they can no longer purvey their life-sucking evil small business model on the humble people who just want a bottle of milk or half a dozen eggs (Wheel free, of course).

    Then, when we have successfully transferred all that Wheel-based wealth down to the shifty Wheel-less people we can start to build a new world. A world without Wheels. A world where rich people have to slave away for long hours and little pay in dangerous conditions just to ensure that we, the 99%, live a life of Wheel-less luxury sneering at them for wanting what we have.

    Hang on, that doesn’t make any sense. I’ll have to start again on my Great Big New Wheel Tax theory…

  6. @Jim Rose You assume that by using ‘war’ there is a start and finish with a winner and a loser. This is wrong, there is no end and is a process of change.

  7. @Megan

    The Kochs inherited their wheels and couldn’t build one to save themselves, let alone a road to roll it down.

    What the US election revealed is that most Americans don’t mind if the Kochs have to release a bit of their wheel overstock to help out the people who were left without wheels when Wall Street destroyed the wheel industry by selling hollow rusty wheels advertised as AAA-rated chrome wheels, which promptly fell apart when relied upon for rolling anything.

    Then the people with few wheels were forced to give up some of their wheels to bail out the Wall Street wheel crashers, who used the wheels to award themselves generous bonus wheels and go right back to selling shonky wheels.

    We could go on rephrasing the facts that everyone but the right has wised up to, but this wheel thing is truly the most stupid analogy for anything ever. Next time try ponies.

  8. @Sancho

    Hmmm, “Great Big New Pony Tax” has a bit of a ring to it, but it might backfire – some people like ponies, but everyone knows only successful and intelligent hard-working people like Wheels.

    Communists and Socialists and Leftists hate Wheels.

    I’ve even seen them forcing their suffering ponies to drag around drays with wasteful, inefficient, arty post-modernist cubist square-shaped ‘wheels’. Just to make their inefficient ‘command-economy’ point.

  9. Is David Brooks conceding defeat, at least in one of the myths that Republicans spread about Obama’s suppporters, in this article?

    He writes

    “But, each year, there are more Americans whose cultural roots lie elsewhere. Each year, there are more people from different cultures, with different attitudes toward authority, different attitudes about individualism, different ideas about what makes people enterprising.

    More important, people in these groups are facing problems not captured by the fundamental Republican equation: more government = less vitality.

    The Pew Research Center does excellent research on Asian-American and Hispanic values. Two findings jump out. First, people in these groups have an awesome commitment to work. By most measures, members of these groups value industriousness more than whites.

    Second, they are also tremendously appreciative of government. In survey after survey, they embrace the idea that some government programs can incite hard work, not undermine it; enhance opportunity, not crush it.”

    Hmmm, good call from Brooks – on this part of the article – the rest of it is the usual self-serving, discredited assumptions about their ‘philosophy’ and how it is the real American way. But the comments set him straight; the comments are very good; much better than the article.

  10. Yes JT.

    And it is worth noting that Brooks’ assertion about Americans’ attitude to government is based on an historical fallacy.

    In fact, the economy of the US grew at its quickest in the 1940s to the mid 1960s when the highest marginal tax rate was 91% and never fell below 65%!

    Instead of investing in one of the most rapid economic expansions in history, why weren’t these American tax payers salting their wealth in Swiss bank accounts?

  11. @Katz if the NOMINAL marginal tax rates were much higher back then, was U.S. government spending much bigger too to match the additional revenues?

    JT, has David Brooks just discovered that America is a melting pot?

  12. 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.

  13. @Megan

    Notice how the moment you got the slightest pushback on your claims, you defaulted to shouting about communists instead of trying build a sensible supporting argument?

    The point of this thread is that that won’t work – in the US at least – because after four straight years of Republicans trying to associate social democracy with communism, Americans went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted Democrat.

    Australia is a different story for lots of reasons, but between now and the federal election you’re going to need some very good arguments to explain why Americans want their nation to be more like Australia than vice versa.

    @Julie Thomas

    Never thought we’d see that sort of fact-facing honesty from Brooks, of all people. Hope and change, lawl.

  14. Tim Macknay :@may

    S.L.A.P=Strategic Ligitation Against Protesters

    No, it’s S.L.A.P.P – “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”.

    six of one half a dozen of the other?

    and i know my privilege quotient is not high when i can’t even spell privilege.

    sigh.

    green feudalism?

    wow! that’s up there with the comment of the person who said outright that they are a torturer calling a green MP “stasi”

  15. @Katz wasn’t that to do with paying wartime debt?

    Tom Sargent is a lifelong democract and is old enough to remember when democrats were fiscal conservatives

  16. Katz

    The US government basically ran a balanced budget through the 50s and 60s.

    Jim

    The decline in debt outstanding as a % of GDP in the 50s and 60s was the result of rapid NGDP growth.

  17. @Jim Rose

    What on earth does motivation have to do with the soundness tax and spend policies?

    In any case, the US Federal Debt is almost the same percentage of GDP in 2012 as it was in 1945 (approx 100%).

    You really need to think before your fingers engage the keyboard.

  18. @Katz wartime debt is a temporary surge, not a structural increase.

    Robert Barro argues that to minimize inefficiency, wars should be financed primarily by government debt and that the debt should be gradually paid off after the war.

  19. John Dawson :If we who believe in free markets for free minds lost, what exactly did you collectivists win? Cuba? Libia? Greece? The Aboriginal Gulag? Green Tasmania? Postmodern Nihilism?

    Where is there a free market? Is it some tribal market day in the highlands of Papua New Guinea??? or a hippie-fest selling cakes at Nimbin?????

    You cannot have a free market under capitalism because you always end up with a Microsoft at one end and wage slavery at the other.

    Wage slavery is not freedom. Capitalism is the foundation of wage slavery.

  20. @Chris Warren You know Chris just because your teachers or peers nod sagaciously at that sort of stupidity doesn’t mean it makes any sense. Calling freedom or wages slavery doesn’t make them slavery. Slaves can’t walk off the job and go looking for better wages next door.

    Under capitalism workers freely trade their time and talents and efforts for money which they then trade for the time and talents and effort and goods of someone else. The reason Bill Gates has a billion times more money to trade than you or I is that he has been a billion times more productive. But if you don’t want to trade with him no one is forcing you to mow his lawns or buy his programs. If you decide you can’t live as you would like without the goods that he has produced, that doesn’t make him your slave master, it makes him your benefactor; and if he paid millions of workers to produce those goods, that doesn’t make them slaves, he had to pay them better wages than they could get elsewhere otherwise they would have worked elsewhere.

    Laissez faire capitalism is the system that bans force from economic transactions, be it imposed by individuals or organizations or governments, which makes it the system of liberty, which makes it the only moral system.

  21. @John Dawson

    A Poe!

    I suspected, but on the whole the recent “John Dawson” comments have struck just the right tone to seem sincere.

    Like most Poe trolls, it came unstuck when you tried getting too much good material into one post. You should have spread the Bill Gates and “moral system” stuff out to avoid becoming a caricature.

    A fine job none the less.

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