Progressives Are Not Cynical Enough About Business

Friday, July 16, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

One thing my study of economics has taught me is that businesses will tend to act in whatever way they think will bring them the most profit. There may be rare exceptions, and of course businessmen often have mixed motives. But the overall tendency in this direction is very strong.

My guess is that if you surveyed people, many more self-described progressives would say that they agreed with the statement than self-described conservatives. Indeed, progressives often criticize conservatives and libertarians for being insufficiently attuned to the rapacious self-interest motivating businessmen.

Yet oddly enough, it seems to me that one of the main problems with progressive thought is that they don’t take the idea that businesses act to maximize profit seriously enough. For a group that claims to have a low opinion of businessmen, progressives have a strange habit of advocating policies that will only work on the supposition that businesses won’t act to maximize profit, and then react with shock when they proceed to do so.

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What’s the Matter with Washington?

Monday, November 9, 2009 \PM\.\Mon\.

40 “progressive” Democrats in the House of Representatives have sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi vowing to vote “no” on health care reform the next time around if the Stupak amendment is not stripped from the bill.

Remember all of those commentaries after the 2004 elections deriding conservative voters for placing their “values” ahead of self-interest? All over the country “progressives” asked “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” to get to the bottom of the matter.

I think what we are obviously seeing now is, at least from the standpoint of the American public that supports the current health care reform effort, a group of legislators who are irrationally placing their most deeply held moral and spiritual values ahead of – not their own self-interest, since they have money – but the interest of the people who sent them to office.

I have long believed that abortion is the most important sacrament in the religion of secular humanism. In their own language the sexual revolutionaries and the radical feminists have declared it the cornerstone of women’s liberation (and as I have argued, men’s “liberation” from parental responsibility as well). The idea of having to take responsibility for sexual behavior is almost like being sent to hell. Thus the importance of this sacrament. For a materialist-hedonist, it is the gateway to salvation.

But I wonder if all of those Democratic voters who were counting on health care reform will see it the same way if the bill does come back to the House with the Stupak amendment in-tact.


It’s Just Legislation

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Having a number of fairly liberal friends and acquaintances, it struck me recently how many blog posts and facebook updates I’d seen lately that began, “I was just watching one of the anti-health-reform protests and I’m just so angry right now.”

I get that many on the progressive side are very, very excited about whichever of the major proposals in the congress at this point ends up being the chosen one by Obama (despite the fact that none of them actually get that close to being what progressives have wanted in regards to health care reform for all these years), if only because they’re very excited to see Obama succeed at whatever he tries. But it strikes me that there’s a difference in how people think about the state and about legislation at play here as well. Thinking back, I can’t recall any example of a piece of legislation on any topic that I was so excited about that it made me angry to see people out protesting against it. Sure, there have been a few things that I’ve strongly supported (like the marriage amendment ballot initiative in California; the national partial birth abortion ban, etc.) or strongly opposed. But there’s nothing I found myself so worked up about that I felt it necessary to watch the protests for or against and then get furious that there were opponents out there — whether their sentiments were fair and honest or not.

My thinking would tend to be, “Hey, it’s just legislation. We win or we lose.” But then, that springs from a basic assumption that things will not change very much from the status quo, that the government will work no miracles for us or against us, and that on a day to day basis the government basically is and should be invisible to us. That seems to be a set of assumptions which many on the more progressive side of the political realm do not share.


The Great NYU Kimmel Food Court Occupation comes to a bloodless end. (Or “how NOT to spend your college tuition”)

Thursday, February 26, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.
[I’m aware we have just entered into the Lenten season and should be reflecting on more serious matters, but this was too good to pass up — bear with me.]

Last week a group of “student-empowering, social-justice-minded” students and assorted ragamuffins and rabblerousers from neighboring colleges (many affiliated with TakeBackNYU) had the stunningly-brilliant idea of barricading themselves in a food court in New York University’s Kimmell Center, “in a historic effort to bring pressure on NYU for its administrative and ethical failings regarding transparency, democracy and protection of human rights.”

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Change, Change, Change

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 \AM\.\Tue\.

I thought this was interesting.

I guess the best way to fund the ‘National Civilian Security Force’ is to eventually tax everybody at 40-50% of their income.

On October 31, 2008 D-Gov (NM) Bill Richardson once again changed that definition to mean $120k while campaigning for Obama.

Nobama. McCain/ Palin 2008.