Thoughts On The Electorate

From Lileks:

I thought about a friend who’s pro-small business, pro-military, pro-religious freedom – of course! This is America! – and she will vote for Obama. She believes that the state should take more property from people who die with X amount of money in the bank and give it to other people, and while she’s not exactly sure about what X should be, this is necessary because of Fairness.

That does seem to be the dominant idea in the land these days, no? The State shall have the power to do X if the objective is Fairness. The details – and the actual result – are less important. If you believe the State should do these things, why, it stands to reason that it can, and and hence any limitation of the powers of the State is a mulish obstruction of a better world.

Good people do not vote against such things.

She also believes, I think, in the following propositions:

The severing of the concept of marriage from the traditional understanding of male-female-children is inconsequential, and that the definition, thus expanded, will hereafter suffer no additional challenges;

Access to abortion is a prime metric for determining the worthiness of a society, but the details – quantity, sex-selection criteria, late-term instances – are relevant only inasmuch as they are cudgels used by those who would ban the procedure entirely, and hence they are a diversion.;

The deficit can be solved by taxing other people;

The financial industry was unregulated prior to 2009;

Inflation is just a thing that happens, like weather;

The State never forces you to do anything. It merely “asks.” The true coercive power in society today resides with corporations.

Read all.

57 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Electorate

  1. Bilwick1

    “The deficit can be solved by taxing other people;

    “The financial industry was unregulated prior to 2009;

    “Inflation is just a thing that happens, like weather;

    The State never forces you to do anything. It merely ‘asks.’ The true coercive power in society today resides with corporations.”

    Lileks must read this blog. These all look like posts from the State-shtuppers on this board.

    Somebody on Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog, commenting how many “free spirited” show business types are lockstep Obama Zombies, wrote:

    “Doesn’t this prove the rightness of Romney’s 47% statement? De Tocqueville was right; the takers have learned they can vote themselves a larger portion of my paycheck.”

  2. Chris Gerrib

    “The deficit can be solved by taxing other people No, but it can be solved by taxing me (I am in a high-income bracket with few deductions)

    “The financial industry was unregulated prior to 2009; key parts of it, like credit derivative options, were in fact unregulated.

    “Inflation is just a thing that happens, like weather; at the moment, the real worry is deflation, not inflation

    The State never forces you to do anything. It merely ‘asks.’ The true coercive power in society today resides with corporations.” both corporations and the State have coercive power. They key to freedom is balancing those two. James Madison would have called it “checks and balances.”

    The severing of the concept of marriage… why exactly is it government’s role to say who marries whom?

    Access to abortion is a prime metric for determining the worthiness of a society… strawman. Plenty of Americans are perfectly willing to limit late-term abortions. But if you tell a rape victim she can’t have an abortion, you’ve just forced her to carry a child to term. That’s “government coercion” in anybody’s book.

    1. Rick C

      “The deficit can be solved by taxing other people No, but it can be solved by taxing me (I am in a high-income bracket with few deductions)

      Gerrib, have you not listened to a single calculation of this? Obama’s higher personal income tax would reap an estimated $80 billion dollars, which is a drop in the bucket compared to his $1.4 trillion deficits.

      both corporations and the State have coercive power.

      This isn’t really true in the same way. The closest a corporation has to a coercive power is when you live in a place that has only one company servicing a field, like cable or electric company, and even then, if it were really intolerable, you could move. Even if you could name a company that could put you in jail, the vast majority can’t, but every level of government can.

      1. Chris Gerrib

        No matter how you slice it, part of the solution to the deficit involves higher taxes. Under Clinton’s tax regime, we had a budget surplus.

        Jail is not the only means of coercion. Loosing your job is coercive. Getting sued by a corporation’s battalion of lawyers is coercive.

        1. Cecil Trotter

          “Under Clinton’s tax regime, we had a budget surplus. ”

          In spite of not because of.

          The “because” was a technological revolution that he had no part in creating.

        2. Brock

          “Under Clinton’s tax regime, we had a budget surplus.”

          If we also had Clinton’s SPENDING regime, I’d be pretty content.

          “Loosing your job is coercive.”

          Not if we had an economy with an abundance of jobs and low unemployment. Just get another one.

          “Getting sued by a corporation’s battalion of lawyers is coercive.”

          That’s the power of government again. Lawyers can’t do much without a Court’s enforcement (and I should know, being a lawyer).

          1. Bilwick

            Didn’t I say there were people who post here who were stupid enough to believe these dopey ideas Lileks was ridiculing? I didn’t name names, but we all knew who I meant.

            “Losing your job is coercive.” Nope. No threat of violence there. The person who owns the business has a right to keep or not keep employees. And I speak as one who was recently downsized out of a job of 25 years. Didn’t like it; caused me a lot of grief; but it wasn’t coercive. Now, if the State had forced the employer to keep me–THAT would have been coercive.

            I don’t know why statists have such a hard time appreciating the difference between the threat of physical force and someone doing what they want with/on their own property. Of course, they could just be deliberate obfuscating to justify and rationalize their own authoritarian tendencies . . . Nah! That’s just crazy talk!

          2. Godzilla

            One way would be to compare the defense spending. Clinton said the US had to reap the peace dividend of the end of the Cold War and started to cut defense spending. When there were armed interventions they usually were composed of cheaper aerial bombing campaigns (Yugoslavia, Desert Fox) which proved to be quite successful at crippling the offensive capability of the enemy and in Yugoslavia’s case it even prompted a regime change.

            The one time Clinton attempted limited US ground intervention (Somalia) it was a dismal failure. I am guessing the situation in Somalia is what prompted Bush’s push towards the Future Combat Systems: the Delta Force suffered losses in Somalia because they didn’t have light armored vehicles.

          3. Swami

            “Losing your job is coercive.”
            No. Forcing someone to employ you against their will is coercive. A job is an agreement between two people. You have no right to force someone into it, no matter how much you want it.

        3. gbaikie

          “No matter how you slice it, part of the solution to the deficit involves higher taxes. Under Clinton’s tax regime, we had a budget surplus. ”

          Well the issue isn’t deficit, it’s the debt.
          One could start by not having such a high yearly deficit, which over a trillion dollar. If one merely lowering the deficit to 200 billion per year, it would be in the right direction.
          A 200 billion deficit or less and doing something increases economic growth, would eventually make the debt more reasonable.
          As it is, the plan, appears to keep with the high deficits, and wait for something to break. And point fingers something else as being the cause.

        4. wodun

          Hey don’t forget Newt the guy who actually controlled the branch of government in charge of the purse strings :) Those were Newt’s surpluses.

          Who cares get rid of the Bush tax rate cuts on the rich or everyone, it will barely make a dent in the deficit and not enough to counter Obama’s proposed spending increases.

        5. ken anthony

          I expected the rest of you to have covered this…

          the solution to the deficit involves higher taxes.

          gbaikie told you the main culprit, but there’s a fundamental problem with your phrasing. You want higher revenue. Higher taxes may or may not result in higher revenue depending on other dynamics. Why do you guys always make that same mistake?

          Is it because, like Obama’s father, you think 100% is the preferred tax rate? 100% being fine and doable because the government will give you everything you need?

          You know, because only the government can be fair?

          This is why woman and children should not be voting.

    2. Raoul Ortega

      No, but it can be solved by taxing me

      Translation– I know what is the right and “fair” thing to do is, but I’m not going to do it voluntarily, unless I can force everyone else like me to have to do it too.

      What a selfish, petty attitude that is. And the Progressive Left is always accusing us of wanting to impose our values by gov’t coercion.

    3. wodun

      ” Plenty of Americans are perfectly willing to limit late-term abortions.”

      And yet Obama isn’t and somehow in all the talk about abortion no one in the media thought to ask Obama about his extreme views.

          1. Rick C

            Now notice, Ed, that they gave a lot of Pinocchios out, but never really disputed my point, which I will admit I made in an inflammatory way, and that the Post pointed out they could have given Obama four Pinocchios, which is close to “pants on fire” territory, for his claims to the CBN. Indeed, he is the person who prevented the Illinois BAIPA from going to a vote even after allowing the “this doesn’t this is an abortion-banning bill” text that was added to the Federal bill (or else he prevented such language from being added after claiming that the lack of said language was his only objection to the bill; I can’t remember which.) So essentially they said “Obama’s probably lying about his position but we don’t want to admit it”

            Out of an extreme sense of deference to the other side, I will point out there was contention about whether or not aborted infants were, in fact, being shelved and allowed to die, but nobody ever proved that it wasn’t happening. So the whole flap may have been much ado over nothing, except that it DOES give us an insight into Obama’s position, which is the flip side of “no abortion exceptions even for rape/incest/to save the mother’s life.” We’re only talking about babies that might be viable, IOW late-term abortions, with the context of BAIPA, for fairly obvious reasons, and Obama thought the right to have those abortions was so important that he was willing to sink this bill to protect the babies that were born in the course of them. I’m not sure how this differs from, for example, being willing to allow babies deemed substandard to be left out on a rock to die, Spartan-style, except in (small) degree.

            I mean this is just one step removed from whatshisname the atheist scientist/”ethicist” who already says we should be allowed to get rid of infants up to a certain age.

          2. Ed Minchau

            I think it is going to take something more concrete than that to convince people that Obama is in favor of infanticide. I find the man’s economic ideas repulsive enough without having to add monstrous motivation.

    4. Jason Bontrager

      I’m breaking this into two posts, maybe that’ll get past the spam filter.

      “if you tell a rape victim she can’t have an abortion, you’ve just forced her to carry a child to term. ”

      And if you tell a woman who claims she was raped (yes, women lie about rape, just ask the Duke LaCross team, or Brian Banks) that being victimized gives her the right to murder an innocent human being, you’ve just become an accessory to that murder.

      1. Jason Bontrager

        Second part:

        By the way, fewer than 1% of abortions are of pregnancies due to rape. But if you allow women to commit abortion when they claim to have been raped, what do you think will happen to the rate of false rape accusations? A woman who’s willing to kill her own child is unlikely to draw the line at ruining a man’s life in the process.

  3. Bilwick

    Corporations coerce? Really? GM send its goons to force you to buy their cars? Red Lobster sends out its press gangs to herd you into their restaurants and away from Captain D’s? Microsoft seizes your Macs? Shocking.

    1. Paul Milenkovic

      GM sell cars in violation of Wisconsin state law (GM keyless entry and the law against showing backup lamps when the transmission in not in reverse gear). It is more than a minor annoyance because giving a false alarm about a car backing up is a safety concern.

      The fix is in on this, and yes, I had reported “to the authorities” my concerns. GM is now “the authorities” — they get to do what they please. Tell me, is there any other automaker doing this?

      1. Bob-1

        Paul, I thought of you when I saw the following tweet:

        “Wisconsin’s two Senators now a gay progressive woman and male Ayn Rand acolyte. It’s like being at UW-Madison again. “

        1. Paul Milenkovic

          You sound like the writer of the letter I got from a “GM suit” after I complained to the the Fe’ral Gummint about it.

          GM flouts the law, which poses a threat to me in my trusty Ford Taurus (1996, 184,000 miles) when I thread a crowded parking ramp to get to and from work, and I can never tell if someone (driving a late model GM car) is backing up or is walking halfway from wherever and is not even in the car.

          I don’t own a GM car. I am not predisposed to own a GM car. If I owned a GM car, I would learn the switchology to disable this feature in order to comply with the law.

          This feature imperils my safety driving a non-GM car. The backup lamps are one more driver distraction — do I stop for this dude flashing on his backup lamps, and get impatient folks piled up behind me eager to get home while said dude moseys over to his car? Or do I keep going and risk collision damage of someone really in reverse and backing into my car.

          So, GM is forcing me deal with their cars in the hands of other drivers. Those drivers may not know about the Wisconsin law or thought of the consequences of using backup lamps, a warning device, as a way to find their car, but GM certainly does because the gummint told them about it and they sent me their form letter to a “dissatisfied consumer.” I am not a consumer of your product, people, I am a bystander put at risk but your dumb design, which no other car maker on the planet has adopted.

          1. Rick C

            Paul, I will stipulate everything you’ve said, but I don’t think it’s really relevant to the topic of coercion, but I’m not going to argue with you about it any more.

          2. Rick C

            I would like to know, however, how specific your issue is. If the brake lights flashed instead of the reverse ones would that be OK with you?

            It sounds like this is just another damn distraction so I have a hard time getting worked up about it, but this sounds like something that rather than tilting at windmills about, you should try to get grassroots support to actually do something about it like banning cars that break the law, fines to be paid by the carmaker.

  4. Brock

    The severing of the concept of marriage from the traditional understanding of male-female-children is inconsequential, and that the definition, thus expanded, will hereafter suffer no additional challenges;

    Like many people, I have my opinions as to what the GOP must do to take back the cultural high ground they’ve lacked since Reagan. (Besides wait for the current MSM to finally go out of business, I mean) And one of them is making a grand bargain with homosexuals.

    Gay marriage needs to be brought into the “family values” coalition. The GOP needs to shift its focus from “man+woman+children” to “love+stability+children”.

    Love is love. Everyone loves. It’s a normal human emotion. And none of us have any control over the type of people we love. (Bisexuals have more options than the rest of us, but they don’t have any more control – they can’t just stop being bisexual any more than the rest of us can stop being unisexual)

    But the things we can exercise control over is how we conduct our personal affairs. Will we put the needs of our children first? Will we provide a stable home that’s warm and morally sound for children to grow up in? Will we go to Church, volunteer at the Fire Department, and welcome our neighbors into our homes for dinners and holidays? Gay people can do all that, if we let them.

    Right now gays are forced to be in “the counterculture” because the conservative culture will not welcome them. If we did welcome them, I bet a lot of them would show up.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      Brock,
      I don’t see the GLAAD crowd going down to the local church or synagogue and asking them to lunch and an open discussion either.

      As to ‘letting’ gays do whatever the want to do, where is it that they can’t go? What job is denied? The last bastion of, supposed, gay exclusion, the military is and has been open for almost 10 years.

      Ultimately, I think this is going to move anyone who openly espouses a belief in God, other than Allah, a belief in American pre-revisionist history, and the belief that hard work is HOW you get ahead is going to be marginalized.

      Those of us who believe in those things have already been demonized.

  5. Orville

    This is what happens when women get to vote. They vote their feelings, after all “its only fair”.

  6. Gregg

    “Loosing your job is coercive”

    To say that a corporation MUST keep you employed even though the profit/loss numbers do not support it, is so incredibly stupid that it’s no wonder Obama won… I am sure a lot of people think this way. I bet NONE of them own a business.

    Obama won simply because there are groups of people who do not understand basic economics, basic human nature, and the world that is around them. They are blind.

    They might see or read about Europe..Greece, Italy, France, Spain etc. but somehow crowd it out of their minds.

    A large percentage of this group of people cannot be bothered to actually think. Politicians know this very well. It’s extremely easy to use the tools of class warfare, alleged victimization, and scare tactics about losing something like contraception.

    It takes no thinking whatsoever to imagine oneself being abused when these concepts are stated if you only look at the immediate effect. It’s really easy to feel aggrieved if you don’t use your head.

    What takes REAL thought…REAL study…REAL openmindeness..REAL effort is to understand human nature like the Founders did. To understand the real blessing that liberty is – how costly it is to get it; how easy it is to lose it, and how much more costly it is to regain it. It’s hard work – REALLY hard work – to think about the economy at any level deeper than whether or not you can get that next pack of ciggies. I believe that huge masses of rich liberals think the wealth of the US is a big treasure chest that is magically refilled. They don’t give the slightest thought to how that is really done.

    It is really hard to for a lot of people to realize that for the last 75-100 years or so we’ve had it pretty cushy and easy. Yes we’ve had bad wars but the daily struggle for life has been mitigated quite a bit. We occasionally get a taste of this with storms like Katrina or hurricane Sandy. And we have lost sight of the fact that this time of comfort is not the norm.

    Liberty is taken for granted – utterly. Or people would not give it up to politicians so readily. They’ve had it for so long that people just assume that’s the way it….is. As if it’s a natural state that cannot be altered.

    They never heard of Bastiat, and have no concept of what is not seen. They do not look to Europe and see what can happen if you promise more than the economy can deliver. They do not take notice that if things cannot go on forever they won’t . And when they DON’T go on, that there’s a lot of anger violence death and destruction when the cushiness has to be cut back. They do not understand that it would be better to not give the bennies in the first place. That the cost will be far higher than they ever imagined.

    And they give not the slightest thought to the soul destroying aspects of giving things to people who have not worked for them.

    There have been stories told for thousands of years about the dangers of the “Poor little rich kid”, and what happens when kids are born rich and not taught about people and value. When they are given everything and earn nothing. “Captains Courageous” is the classic example and this generation ought to be exposed to stories like that. Artists strained and sweated to communicate universal truth via their art…..

    now they just dunk religious artifacts in jars of urine and call it aht (as we say it in the Boston area).

    It takes a lot of thought to be free. And effort. It takes no effort or thought to be a slave.

    1. ken anthony

      It is a cognitive problem and a severe lack of perspective. “You will lose your job but we’ll give you contraceptives.” Well, that sounds fair.

      How in the hell can someone think losing your job is a coercive act comparable to the force of law!?

      Companies need employees. Where competition exists (which only government can prevent) they must pay their employees a fair wage. If you don’t get a fair wage (that’s often true) a free independent person will take personal responsibility and improve their own value and insist on a decent wage. You’re supposed to do that as a kid so when you become an adult you’re past that nonsense.

      The only time I’ve ever worked for someone and not gotten the raise I asked for was when the other employees of the company decided to get together and collectively bargain. They bargained away any raise I could get that year. They based it on the company income. I bargained based on my value to the company. I never needed a union to bargain for me.

      1. Bilwick

        As I’ve said before, you guys are wasting your time debating with Gerrib, and his latest idiocy is a good example why. Anyone who thinks an employer’s right to decide who is entitled to work for him, or not, is the moral equivalent to someone or some agency sticking a gun in your face, is either too stupid to argue with, or deliberately obfuscating.

  7. Gregg

    p.s.

    The left understood that if they can shut off people’s minds, then the concepts upon which this nation was founded would be ignored. If they could make patriotism look silly, and remove national values from our educational system, then it’s an easy step to get the people to forget about liberty.

    And they’ve done it.

    If they can make religious principles and discipline look archaic and stupid then the strength of the nation can be broken.

    And they’ve done it. At least in the Californian and Northeastern Salons.

  8. wodun

    Idiocracy was supposed to be a warning not a detailed strategic plan to be implemented at the soonest opportunity.

  9. Thomas Matula

    Looks like the battle has already started

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/joe-biden-election-mandate_n_2089819.html

    Joe Biden: Election A Mandate On Tax Policy
    Posted: 11/07/2012 4:48 pm EST

    While voters in California voted to increase their taxes by $6 billion a year…

    http://www.mercurynews.com/elections/ci_21945748/fate-gov-browns-prop-30-is-unclear?source=most_viewed

    California tax measures: Props. 30 and 39 emerge victorious; Prop 38 loses

    1. ken anthony

      Are we surprised that a squeaker election is considered a mandate by the left? But when the right gets 49 states that’s time to be ‘reasonable.’

    2. Thales

      They also voted against portability of good driver discounts. The citizenry appears to be committing a strange form of mass suicide.

  10. ken anthony

    The sad thing is fracking is likely to revitalize the entire midwest and Obama, although doing everything he can to prevent it, will be at the front of the parade claiming he did it.

  11. Gregg

    Mandates with this administration are totally meaningless. Obama does not care if he has a mandate or not.

    Obama did not have a mandate for Obamacare but he forced it anyway.

    Obama had no mandate for the Dream Act and was thwarted by congress but he did it by executive order anyway.

    He has no mandate for boatloads of EPA regulations but he does it anyway.

    To console oneself by saying Obama has no mandate; or to cheer to the rafters that re-election is a mandate….both are irrelevant.

  12. Ted

    Mfk, you wanted some examples of corporations being coercive? Let me throw out a few examples, with no names, since I worked for a few of these, and may want to work for the others.
    Client manager had an intense dislike for animals. I wanted to volunteer on my own time with a local group that tried to help feral cats. I mentioned this to a co-worker, who told me that the manager would fire me if he found out. I checked with my agency rep, who confirmed it. For the duration of that contract, I didn’t work with the group, just to play it safe.
    I was recruited for another position, but the recruiter asked if I owned any firearms. At the time, I didn’t, and he replied that the client would not hire gun owners, and if a worker was found to own them, or had an NRA sticker or something, the worker would be quickly eased out.
    Another potential client, during the phone interview, asked me if I believed in God and attended religious services. When I replied yes to both, he said that he was ending the interview. I told him that was illegal, and he laughed, saying that he didn’t want any believers stinking up his office.
    Another place I worked was the opposite; if you weren’t on fire for the LORD, your advancement prospects were…nil.
    I was on one interview some years ago where the interviewing manager was a big fan of PETA, with a large poster in his office. He tried getting my views on the subject of animal rights, and mentioned that he had a policy of forbidding days off during deer season; what did I think of that? I was opposed, and the interview quickly came to an end.
    The two big issues now are gun ownership and religion, ie evangelical denominations. I got three calls about potential positions, and while I am very happy at my current client, I noted one of them asked what church I attended, and when I told him, he said that wouldn’t look good to the client.
    It is happening, and I suspect that it will increase.

    1. Gregg

      None of these examples are coercive. You are not forced to work there. They are under no obligation to hire you.

      As a free man you can choose to work for a place that would fire you for helping feral cats (meaning you choose to keep quiet about it if you decide to work there), or not. No one forces you to work there. You either accept their conditions or work somewhere else.

      Can’t find a job elsewhere? Then once again you get to make a choice. This is not coercion.

      Free businesses have the right to hire and fire anyone they like for any reason. Those rights have been hugely infringed upon, but that doesn’t negate the right.

    2. Karl Hallowell

      Another potential client, during the phone interview, asked me if I believed in God and attended religious services. When I replied yes to both, he said that he was ending the interview. I told him that was illegal, and he laughed, saying that he didn’t want any believers stinking up his office. Another place I worked was the opposite; if you weren’t on fire for the LORD, your advancement prospects were…nil.

      Now, imagine a government doing these things. Now, instead of being able to say “No”, your very freedom is at stake. Maybe you’ll get a tax audit, a large EPA fine, or even jail time, instead of not being hired. That’s coercion.

  13. Robert Oculus III

    The election is over. The people have spoken.
    Now wipe that look of stupid surprise off your faces and listen.

    America as we have known it is dead — as dead as Kerensky. You folks didn’t realize how many Young Pioneers we have in this country, did you? Well, you know now. Now that the Party has seized control of the Winter Palace, all the little Bolsheviks can take off their masks and wave high the blood-red banner. (Guess what the word “bolshevik” means in Russian?)

    The Revolution is over. With Black Lenin’s unimpeachable power (heh), they will now proceed to construct the socialist order.

    Any political approach we might take is pointless. Politics are for yesterday — the yesterday that is white America. We are a minority now. It’s time we started acting like one.

    And that means eschewing the ideological approach. If the recent election has shown anything it’s that ideology isn’t going to save us. What’s going to save us is…

    More

  14. RS

    A truly ethical person gives to help their family and neighbors.
    So if someone worthy needs and deserves a car, you give them one if you can. This builds character in the giver and makes the receiver aware of the power of love.

    A progressive believes that if someone needs a car, it’s ok for the state to steal one from someone else and give it to them.

    This destroys kindness, charity and character and recognizes the supremacy of the love of power.

    Moral and ethical inversion is the evil at the core of progressive “fairness”.

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