Archive for March, 2012

A Little Appreciation For Paul Gottfried

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Paul Gottfried

via Paul Gottfried – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’ve met Paul a handful of times, and while he probably doesn’t remember, been to lunch with him once to discuss his work.

Paul’s been a troubling figure for me for two reasons. First, as a sensitive person, he’s personalized the attacks on him rather than simply kept on with the drudgery that is expected of all of us. It makes him petulant. Personally I think it’s because he can’t find anyone worthy enough to debate him on his terms. But the solution to that problem is to change your terms. And second, I’m troubled because he attacks WASPS broadly rather than christian women in particular.

Institutionally, I just don’t think wasps are open to that much criticism. In fact, I think we’re only beginning to understand the value of the manorial system.

But Paul’s a German nationalist. And a bit of Continental. Meaning he retains the continental obsession with emotions in his work when emotions are nothing more than a reaction to changes in state, and changes in state are only a reaction to norms. It’s our norms and institutions that are open to criticism and analysis. Our emotions are only so much distracting chaff. As a post-analytic philosopher myself I have very hard time translating most continental philosophy for this reason: we always have to map these emotions backward into a normative expression then evaluate the norm and it’s tedious.

Like Paul, I happen to be one of the small number of people on the planet who thinks the Germans were in the right, and the English in the wrong. As time passes, and emotions wane, I expect that our opinion will become that of the academic majority.

I’m also one of the small number of people that has suggested that the German social model (and its Asian parallel the Japanese) is the best social model for advanced societies. I think time has proven that assertion true. Although the political model of inter-temporal redistribution is probably in the process of failing, I see that as a separate question from the metaphysical assumptions in any social portfolio of norms. And in that portfolio, the Germans have clearly emerged as the best.

So in those matters I agree with Paul. What I don’t agree with is the notion that the American WASP is as much to blame as the incorporation of women into the political process. We would not have had Hitler, nor FDR nor Kennedy nor any other left leaning American president without women voting. We established a constitution for property owning males. We protected against the known crimes of men. We did not protect against the unknown fantasies of women.

And I think that’s the correct problem to address.

The Germanic manorial system worked north of the Hanjal line. It worked in no small part by suppressing the birth rates of the underclasses and concentrating capital in the productive classes. That the English encountered the problem of over-extension and the need to develop the norms of an empire is true. That the Manorial system as a means of suppressing the locust like behavior of the underclasses is something else entirely. And to that end, the blame goes to women.

All this said, I’ve spent some time on Paul’s writing, and it’s intelligent, and well argued and I’m going to have to go through all of it now to see if it can be restated in propertarian terms: absent the continental baggage. Because if I can re-frame his arguments as propertarian statements rather than emotional statemts about norms, I suspect that his work will defend my premise.

Watching The Progressive Bloggers

Monday, March 5th, 2012

It would be painfully easy to make a career out of criticizing the left. Plenty of people do it. It’s entertaining but it doesn’t further the cause.

Unfortunately I have real work to do, and can’t sign up for a daily routine.

Maybe now and then I’ll just make the rounds.

Brad DeLong Watch: Terminological Nits with Caldwell

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Brad takes issue with Chris Caldwell’s assertion that the republican party is not where wealth votes:

It takes a somewhat weird failure to look at the cross-tabs to arrive at the conclusion that the Democratic Party is the party of "billionaires, academics, minorities and single women" and the Republican Party is the party of "landscape gardeners, construction workers, truckers." For one thing, landscape gardeners throughout much of the country are now overwhelmingly Hispanic, and less and less likely to vote Republican with each passing day…

via Brad DeLong.

But Brad is using a convenient play on words. High finance is in bed with the democrats, and big oil is in bed with the republicans. “Billionaires” was a bad choice of pejorative language. He should have said “high finance”.

So brad is just feeding the fires of dishonest discourse rather than correcting it.

That said Chris is still off-base. Republican party is becoming the white party. which is why there is a clock running on its future. And further, it’s why we are not going to have a peaceful resolution of our class warfare: because it’s going to become race warfare.

The libertarians have a solution but it’s too late to enact it. Bush was the last president with the opportunity. When one republican defected and ruined his chances of reform, the die was cast.

Sometime in the not too distant future it’s going to get very bad here in the states.

Daily Krugman Watch: On Cato and the Kochs

Monday, March 5th, 2012

March 5th, 2012 Posted by CurtD

Krugman jumps on the Kochs bandwagon today:

I replied:

Of the libertarian think tanks, Cato is the most policy oriented. The Kochs want to move it more into policy and further away from theory in order to help the republican party platform. (Which doesn’t necessarily bother those of us who are members of more radical think tanks.)

While I understand that you have an agenda, it is perfectly reasonable to purge language that polls unfavorably. But you will rarely find a conservative engaging in deceptions on the scale that do liberals.

Conservative have a higher standard. The public holds them accountable to a higher standard because they profess a higher standard. But that said, voter manipulation, association with global finance, violence, and systemic corruption are by far predominantly liberal activities.

So are we supposed to hold you to the liberal standard? Or the conservative standard? Because you claim a high standard, but by your statements contradict it.

Karl Smith Watch: Learning From Fables

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Crises, however, are not fables. They do not exist to teach us lessons or help us learn to mend our ways. The forces at work are utterly indifferent to the narratives we attach to them. Like everything else, they are simply a chain of events. One damned thing after another. Our task is to understand how this chain is likely to unfold and uncover what, if anything, we can do to mitigate the damage.

via On Europe: Tyler and I « Modeled Behavior.

To which I replied:

Again, love you and your work. But you are artificially narrowing the scope of inquiry to suit your biases and calling it truth rather than preference.

A longer time preference would argue for different policies, lower fragility, and better individual planning. You have a shorter time preference which suits your bias toward redistribution and allowing increasing birth rates among the lower classes.

The average European as a lower IQ than in 1850 for a reason. You are the reason. Actually women are — but you’re a product of that thinking. (Ashkenazim have remained constant from the medieval average, while Europeans have declined.) There are hard conceptual barriers at 105, 122 and 140. And the composition of a population determines its possible norms.

Ideas have consequences. In particular, your ideas have consequences.

Paul Krugman Watch: Framing The Divide As Foolishness Rather Than Strategy Serves No One

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Paul Krugman writes that the right wing strategy is based on false principles. But he misses the point:

There were some technical problems with my earlier post on GOP deficit phoniness, although not in any way that changes the message. So, here’s an update. I use the intermediate-cost estimate from CRFB (pdf) for the four Republican plans, and for consistency, I use CRFB’s own estimate (pdf) for Obama. … So it remains true that all of the proposals, except maybe Ron Paul’s (which contains huge and probably impossible spending cuts) would lead to higher deficits than Obama, based on a common assessment. … So let me rephrase my question: what conceivable evidence would convince people that supply-side magic doesn’t work?


1) The conservative strategy is to starve the beast as the only hope of preserving their freedom and their culture. In that context, their approach is entirely rational for Schumpeterian reasons: in the battle between the public intellectual who would undermine their culture, and the entrepreneur who would preserve it, they are funding the entrepreneur. Again, this is an entirely rational strategy. It is absolutely straightforward. Just as it is rationally Schumpeterian that the public intellectuals like yourself seek to fund the state.

2) There is no community of common interest in the country any longer. The combination of immigration, relocation, the dissolution of the family, and the consequential abandonment of traditional values by the lower classes, when combined with the evolution of technology that rewards those who can process and use abstract rules and principles has guaranteed a permanent and irreversible conflict of values.

This is a religious conflict. This era is a battle of the communal religion of the secular state, and the aristocratic religion of the traditional classical liberals. The left’s strategy is to enable the lower classes to have a beneficent lifestyle. The right’s strategy is to constrain the reproductive ability of the lower classes and concentrate investment in the middle classes. Even if they must suffer hardship to obtain their political ends. There is nothing new about this conflict of visions. Its the female sentiment and male sentiment writ large.

Progressive economists are terrible historians and worse political philosophers. You cannot have consensus on policy in a divided electorate. Arguing over technicalities is simply a self congratulatory distraction.

I cannot tell whether you are intellectually honest. You are framing the debate under a false assumption that is contrary to the data. Since you’re doing that, it’s either an accident or an intentional misrepresentation. I don’t know which.

But by falsely framing the discourse, you do a disservice as a public intellectual, and hinder the resolution of the underlying conflict.

Demographically, your side will win within thirty years assuming there is no unforeseen change. But it will not because you convince anyone.

Liberty And Violence

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Liberty is purchased with the tip of a spear, the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun. It is maintained by a hard constitution, the common law, and the mastery of the violence required to prevent its subversion. Righteous indignation is litte more than sound and fury signifying nothing, and those who congratulate themselves on their conviction are merely hiding behind a facade of convenience and cowardice. Violence is a virtue not a vice. We lend our leaders our violence in exchange for liberty. If they do not give us our liberty we must take back our wealth of violence and use it until we can give it again to those who will.