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"maybe liberals are just plain stupid"

I really don't want to believe that... honestly, I don't...  But it's getting harder and harder not to...

Robin of Berkeley explains:

Conservatives can mistakenly assume that liberals think like they do, in a learned and rational way. This is an exercise in futility since liberalism is not based on logic.

To become a conservative, I've had to learn a whole new language, one based on reason. If conservatives want to understand the liberal mind, they should consider becoming bilingual, too.

Liberals live in a stratosphere centered on emotions and magical thinking. If you've tried to reason with your daughter and she looks at you blankly; if your neighbor changes the subject during your compelling arguments; if your cousin says this about Obama: "I don't know why.  I just like the guy"...that's why.

After I 'fessed up last week to once being besotted with socialism, a reader had an epiphany. He wrote that maybe liberals are just plain stupid. 

I'm not going to disagree with this. There are innumerable examples from both the famous and the anonymous:

-- The most illustrious of all leftists, Noam Chomsky, still maintains that the Khmer Rouge did not slaughter millions of Cambodians.

-- Liberal luminaries Annette Bening and Naomi Wolf defend radical Islam, including the dreaded burqa.

-- After journeying to Cuba, members of the Congressional Black Caucus bragged about the stellar conditions there.

-- Michael Moore thinks that the Cuban health system is to die for.

-- Anita Dunn, a former special assistant to Obama, stated that Mao is one of the people she admired the most.

If these are the more informed liberals, what about Jane and Joe in the street?

-- During the primary, I asked my friend Gail why she was voting for Obama. Did she know anything about his voting record or background? She responded, "No, I don't." When I asked her why she was voting for him, she said, "I just am." 

-- Last week, I chatted with Shelley, a liberal pal who voted for Obama. I asked her what she thought of him now. She said that she thought he was doing fine, but she confessed that she wasn't following the news.

-- During the election, I told a friend, George, that I thought Obama was a socialist. George responded, "Well capitalism doesn't work. Why not try socialism?" Dr. George has a Ph.D.

Are these folks "stupid"? I looked up the word, and my dictionary reads, "lacking intelligence or common sense." Going by that definition, it would be hard to argue no.

I really do want to give progressives the benefit of the doubt... but to do so necessitates my own giving up of reality. 

The bottom line is that liberals, in my mind, are one of two things.  Stupid... or evil.

Neither is flattering (obviously) but the only other possibility is... both.

Are you a liberal?

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.


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Comments (65)

Many are stupid, or, stooop... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Many are stupid, or, stooopid, but even more are lazy, envious, not self-reliant, and/or selfish.

Me, I just call em ignorant.

Yeah, they're stupid like t... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Yeah, they're stupid like that Twain's character who had to whitewash that long fence.

Just as one must always judge liberals by their actions and never their lying words, we must also judge them by how much success they have already had in taking down America:culturally, economically, morally, legally and militarily.

With their obvious widespread and intergenerational success, it is folly to assume they are stupid, any more than to look at freshly poured cement and assume it is easily penetrated. Sadly, they're winning!

Stupid is as stupid does. T... (Below threshold)
914:

Stupid is as stupid does. They elected Barry, that says it all.

I was having similar though... (Below threshold)
Cindermutha:

I was having similar thoughts this morning. I concluded that liberals consist of the Evil Elite and their Useful Idiots, useful only to them of course.

Liberals are Stupid and Evi... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Liberals are Stupid and Evil. The Evil are running the party which is filled with the stupid. They are intentionally stupid, they don't want to think, or discuss or apply logic to anything.

Stupid is a measure of inte... (Below threshold)
epador:

Stupid is a measure of intelligence. It has nothing to do with emotion. So much of what we see AT EITHER extreme of political spectrum is emotionally derived. Blind patriotism and fervent liberalism are not able to be challenged by logical argument. Any more than you can expect an abused spouse who is still "in love" with their abuser to listen to pleas from friends and relative to abandon their abuser, can you expect a PETA, KKK or NCLC acolyte to reconsider or review their allegiance and commitments.

Deprogramming these folks is nearly impossible unless they have reached a level of personal crisis that shakes all their personal beliefs.

Whether in the middle road, or at extreme points of the spectrum, the disassembly of a belief system with a strong emotional base is not possible based on logical argument. The emotional roots have to be challenged if not severed before there is much chance of logical evaluation.

I wonder if Robin has given... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I wonder if Robin has given any thought to this possibility: after years of listening to his regurgitation of Limbaugh talking points, his friends and "liberal pals" say something, ANYTHING, to shut him up whenever the subject of politics is broached.

As for liberals living in a stratosphere of emotions and magical thinking, I give you "Drill Baby Drill." How's that working out for us? Or how about "The free market will always solve every problem."?

Having been a liberal, I ca... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Having been a liberal, I can say that the way liberals think runs counter to reality in every direction. However, when it comes to "using the system" to advance their agenda, they are intelligent and cunning. They have used the legal system to bog down progress in the race to become energy independent in the name of protecting the environment against the "evil capitalists" just as one example. Here is what the bottom line for me was. Life is not fair. To the liberal mind it's,"damn it , it should be and I am going to make it so whether you agree with me or not or even if it destroys this country." I have liberal family members. I don't have liberal friends.

I bet you don't, RLC.... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I bet you don't, RLC.

Woops, that's D, not C.... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Woops, that's D, not C.

Bruce, do you ever tire of ... (Below threshold)
914:

Bruce, do you ever tire of being a liberal dingbat?

No? Ok, just wondering.

Liberalism isn't stupidity ... (Below threshold)
JB:

Liberalism isn't stupidity or evil. Liberalism is spiritual sickness. Liberalism is based on the notion of ressentiment (Ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one's frustration, an assignation of blame for one's frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the "cause" generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one's frustration. The ego creates an enemy in order to insulate itself from culpability. - Wiki)

Liberalism is based on emotions of envy and guilt, thus is it cannot in any way be compatible with reality, as reality cannot guarantee equal outcomes in a free, chaotic world of nature.

Actually it isn't stupid pe... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Actually it isn't stupid people who get a country in trouble. It's stupid people who think they are smart. Armies of those amongst us now. Think about it, everybody who wrecked Enron had an advanced degree from somewhere. Everybody who made the dot-com bubble had an advanced degree from somewhere. Everybody who created the housing crisis had an advanced degree from somewhere. And not one of 'em knew that 2+2=4 every time and you can't make it equal 5 no matter how much better 5 fits your narrative.

I don't know if liberals ar... (Below threshold)
exceller:

I don't know if liberals are stupid, but I do know they lack common sense and think because they have good intentions that they are smarter than everyone else.

"Never attribute to malice ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

But malice works for me when it comes to the financial misdeeds perpetrated by the liberals in government and their useful idiots in the MSM.

Mr. Henry gives a perfect e... (Below threshold)
SER:

Mr. Henry gives a perfect example of the problems with the liberal mind set. As I quote, "Or how about 'The free market will always solve every problem.'?"

He doesn't understand that conservatives do not believe that ANYTHING will solve every problem. In fact, most problems can not be solved. The conservative mind believes that there are "trade offs," not solutions. Yes, we can provide health care coverage to everyone in this Country, but the trade offs will be poorer health care, rationing, out of control government spending and fewer jobs.

Liberals are arrogant enough to believe that there are solutions to every problem and that if we get the right people in charge, they will find these solutions. So, to answer Mr. Henry, we don't have to "Drill Baby Drill," but if we don't, we end up paying more at the pump (it's called "Supply and Demand"). The free market won't solve every (or even any) problem, but does represent freedom. Let' change the term "the free market" to "free people."

Uh Bruce, that would be cal... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Uh Bruce, that would be called freedom of association the last time I checked. To be honest with you,(no really), I don't have a problem with liberals like you. You are at least honest about what you believe and I don't have to like it. I wouldn't ever censor your opinion, bring it. There are times when yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater is right. Like when there really is a fire. I have a problem with fence sitters, enablers, so-called moderates. To me they are more responsible for where we are today than the liberal/statist.

It's not that they're stupi... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

It's not that they're stupid, it's that they confuse the way life works with the way they think it ought to work.

They're committed to the latter, and believe that if they act in a fashion appropriate to the utopia they dream of, that utopia will come into existence (Visualize world peace!). Terrorism? Hug it out with the terrorists, and they'll realize what swell guys we are, and knock it off and become our bestest buddies. The likelihood that those terrorists would behead them simply does not occur to them.

It's a fundamentally childlike view of life, philosophically akin to thinking that if you cover your eyes, others cannot see you.

One thing you can could on ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

One thing you can could on for libs like Bruce and Ward. If it doesn't work, not only keep doing it, spend more doing it.

How's those Obamanomics working out Bruce? All those jobs 'created or saved'. Sure glad we never got beyond 8% unemployment. And it was a real surprise when Barry got the Iranians and NK's to give up their nukes. That Israeli-Palestinian peace accord was the work of a true genius as well. Maybe we should repeal the 22nd Amendment and give Barry as many terms as he'd like. Who knows, perhaps he'll hire another couple of thousand "Czars" to run various portions of the government.

"It's not that they're stup... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

"It's not that they're stupid, it's that they confuse the way life works with the way they think it ought to work."

I think it was Reagan who said, "It's not that liberals are stupid, it's that so much of what they know just isn't so."

As for "Drill, baby, drill", perhaps Mr. Henry can explain just what is wrong with that statement.

What's wrong with it, Mr Bo... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

What's wrong with it, Mr Bobdog, is that it's "magical thinking," just lke Rick and Robin decry from liberals.

If you imagine that adding 3-4% more oil to the WORLD'S supply (you don't think that oil from our coasts is automatically going to be used strictly in the US, do you?), is going to make us energy independent, you are engaging in magical thinking.

And if, God forbid, that drilling results in Louisiana-style damage to the other two coastlines, your magical thinking just bumped up against my reality.

My point being, of course, that "magical thinking" is not confined to one side of the political spectrum. But for deliberate point-missers like SER, I'll admit that I could have used a better example than "the free market will solve every problem."

So, your solution is to do ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

So, your solution is to do nothing then. And nuclear energy? LNG? Coal? Why wouldn't we develop all the resources we have available to us? And why shouldn't market forces be allowed to work? Al Gore can't do EVERYTHING.

It's going to take a shitload of windmills and bicycles, Bruce.

Mr. Henry, Since t... (Below threshold)
SER:

Mr. Henry,

Since this is still a "quasi-free" country, feel free to re-phrase "the free market will solve every problem" into some other supposed stereotypical conservative statement.

Thanks to Mr. Henry for ill... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Thanks to Mr. Henry for illustrating the point.

Some liberals are stupid an... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

Some liberals are stupid and some are evil. But most are just true believers. They have never been exposed to alternatives that don't look like blasphemy to their faith. Liberalism is based on perfectibility. The faith is that humans can become perfect and will with the right guidance. But people aren't perfect and never will be. When the expected perfection doesn't happen, leftists ( including liberals ) abandon persuasion for compulsion. When that fails, liberals and their fellow lefties demand more compulsion. They never doubt their faith. People can be made perfect. And they will eventually kill everyone who isn't.

We dour conservatives know that people are imperfect. We don't expect much, so we favor a system that prevents us from deliberately harming one another and little else. This allows us to be our imperfect selves and deeply offends lefty faith. I mean we might choose to smoke or drink or eat too much. We might not think that its more important to elect a black man President than a competent one. We might want to pick our charities instead of letting an army of unseen bureaucrats do so. We might not want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Bastille Day. We might want to consider the facts more important than the narrative. We might want to look for oil in case we needed it instead of trusting our good friend Chavez or certain mullahs and kings.

Conservatives offend liberals because we deny their religion. We stand in the way of the wonderful world they know they can create if only they can control our selfish urge to provide for ourselves and our families. We refuse to understand that only a wise and compassionate government can make us the ideals they imagine. We on the right do not expect unicorns and rainbows forever. We will settle for a government that does very little and leaves us to struggle with life on our own terms. We know we will often fail. That is where we part company with the left. They can never admit failure. It just isn't in the narrative. It must be sabotage.

No, it's life.

You can't fix stupid.... (Below threshold)
G.:

You can't fix stupid.

Well, keep in mind that in ... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Well, keep in mind that in the fetid swamp of any liberal's braindrain there is a confluence of defects in clear cognition, of which ignorance, irrationality, stupidity, vapidity and fecklessness are the primary components.

How about results oriented?... (Below threshold)
Just John:

How about results oriented?
Do you realize that unemployment has been lower under Democratic presidents since WWII? that Dow also performs better?

Which is why Detroit is the... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Which is why Detroit is the economic powerhouse it is. Dem policies - can't beat 'em!

In any case, your point is rubbish.

re: Just John' attempt at ... (Below threshold)
epador:

re: Just John' attempt at a point.

Pilot induced oscillation is a phenomena of exponentially increasing variations in altitude and attitude due to the delay in cause and effect of pulling and pushing on the "joystick" of whatever effects change in a horizontal stabilizer. The pilot senses a trend downward and pulls back on the stick to bring the nose of the plan up. However, the desired effect trails the action significantly, and the action is pursued longer than necessary. Then the aircraft begins to climb. The pilot, one sensing the climb (long after the effect of the pull on the stick) then attempts to compensate by pushing forward - BUT the pilot doesn't sense the desired effect until long after it has begun, so the pushing and pulling continue in escalating patterns until the plane is uncontrollable and effects a loss of controlled flight.

A similar effect upon our economy and various political and economic plans to effect changes in the economy can be observed throughout history. Attributing the status of the economy to the current administration, does not always reflect what the true effects of the current administration are.

Once the economy is in a flat spin, however, as ours appears to be, then only a trained and experienced pilot with the fortitude to stay at the controls and walk through the critical actions necessary to prevent a Class A Mishap can prevent kinetic disassembly on ground contact.

Thus attributing the state of the economy at any time in a short administrative cycle to the concurrent actions of the administration is potentially inappropriate.

I recommend to all those out there that unless we get someone smart and experienced at the controls soon, pulling on the D ring will be too late.

Note to epador: The economy... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Note to epador: The economy is not an airplane.

But Mr Hahn had an excellent post, I think.

Well,the first sentence in his second parargraph was good. Conservatism is a perfectly valid way of looking at economics and politics.

The idea that man is imperfectible and that government should move out of the way as much as possible is a perfectly sound one. Where I differ with conservatives is in how far it is possible for government to move out of the way. (Apologies for the poorly constructed sentence -- I hope you get my drift.)

You may think it stupid to mistrust the profit motive to answer all of our country's problems. I think it is quite apparent why that mistrust exists.

You may think it naive to place any faith in government to have any role in our welfare. My answer is that, at least in theory, government officials are accountable to voters, and big corporations are beholden only to their short-term profit sheets.

This discussion, on Wizbang of all places, whether or not "liberals are stupid," would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic.

My own problem with politic... (Below threshold)
James H:

My own problem with politics today has more to do with conservatives than with liberals. In general, I expect lberals to be the heart and conservatives to be the head when it comes to setting politics. Over the last couple decades, IMO, liberals have continued to serve as the heart, but conservatives have abdicated their responsibility as the head.

The right of late has seemed less logical and more prone to outbursts of angry id. This is not what I want from my conservative politicians.

Bruce, oh Bruce... "This... (Below threshold)
zaugg:

Bruce, oh Bruce... "This discussion, on Wizbang of all places, whether or not "liberals are stupid," would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic."
No, pathetic is looking you in the mirror at home and by your own words you prove the meme. Sad, really.

You may think it stupid ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

You may think it stupid to mistrust the profit motive to answer all of our country's problems.

Straw man, Bruce.

government officials are accountable to voters, and big corporations are beholden only to their short-term profit sheets.

Government officials are beholden to special interests, but more to the point, they can coerce people; they ultimately have police, courts, prisons, the IRS, and (ultimately) the military to force you to do what they want.

Big corporations have none of those things. They can, and often do, fail when they do not meet customers' needs. (Recall GM is a big corporation, yes? And GM failed, yes?)

Last, government is a big corporation itself, by which I mean a legal construct that treats an organization as if it were a natural person.

So, paradoxically, to assuage your concerns over the hegemony of big corporations you look to the biggest corporation of all, and one that can fine, imprison, or execute you if it thinks that's warranted. Microsoft can't do that.

That's why keeping government reined in is so important. Consider further that implicitly you're thinking of the government as being liberal-dominated, which you like. Suppose the government consisted of President Pat Buchanan, VP Sarah Palin, and a Congress full of evangelicals determined to save your soul. Puts a little different complexion on things, doesn't it?

For my part, I don't want either scenario. I just want the government to provide for the security of the country, both externally (against invasion) and internally (against crime and terrorism), build and maintain roads, etc. and then get the hell out of the way and leave us alone. Think a homeowners' association, writ large.

Ah Bruce, elegant argument ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Ah Bruce, elegant argument against a metaphor. Dismal dodge of the point, however.

Sorry, epador, I was going ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Sorry, epador, I was going for the cheap laugh there.

Mr Guevara, we have more in common than you might think. Again, it is the degree to which we wish government to "get out of the way" that is the basis of liberal-conservative conflict.

Do you want the government out of the way when it comes to, say, food and drug inspections? How about the air traffic control system? Insider trading rules? How about labor standards? Should there be NO minimum wage, for instance? Back in the 1970s, a 55 mph national speed limit was imposed. Conservatives said it was "stupid," but was it? After the Arab Oil Embargo and the Iran Crisis it seemed like a matter of national security to me, and to Nixon, Ford, and Carter.

So it's the "etc" about which we disagree, right?

That being the case, it is hilarious to have this debate here, where you have guys like 914 and Garandfan calling other people stupid. I mean, come on!

Fixed your post for you.</p... (Below threshold)
jim x:

Fixed your post for you.

* * *

Liberals can mistakenly assume that conservatives think like they do, in a learned and rational way. This is an exercise in futility since conservatism is not based on logic.

...

Conservatives live in a stratosphere centered on emotions and magical thinking. If you've tried to reason with your daughter and she looks at you blankly; if your neighbor changes the subject during your compelling arguments; if your cousin says this about Bush: "I don't know why. I just like the guy"...that's why.

After I 'fessed up last week to once being besotted with Free Market Capitalism Without Regulations, a reader had an epiphany. He wrote that maybe conservatives are just plain stupid.

I'm not going to disagree with this. There are innumerable examples from both the famous and the anonymous:

-- The most illustrious of all rightists, Pat Buchanan, still maintains that it was a mistake for the Allies to stand up to Hitler.

-- Conservative luminaries Sarah Palin and John McCain defend radical Christianity, including the dreaded reasonless opposition to gay marriage.

-- After journeying to Iraq, members of the GOP bragged about the stellar conditions there.

-- Rush Limbaugh thinks that the US health system is to die for.

-- Don Runsfeld, a former defense secretary for Bush, shook hands with Saddam Hussein and helped keep him power after he gassed his own people.

If these are the more informed conservatives, what about Jane and Joe in the street?

-- During the primary, I asked my friend Gail why she was voting against Obama. Did she know anything about his voting record or background? She responded, "No, I don't." When I asked her why she was voting against him, she said, "I just am."

-- Last week, I chatted with Shelley, a conservative pal who voted against Obama. I asked her what she thought of him now. She said that she thought he was doing terrible, but she confessed that she was only watching Fox news.

-- During the election, I told a friend, George, that Obama wasn't a socialist. George responded, "Well he must be a Muslim and a socialist and an elitist and a supporter of big banks as well. Why not try Free Market Capitalism Without Regulations?" Dr. George has a Ph.D.

Are these folks "stupid"? I looked up the word, and my dictionary reads, "lacking intelligence or common sense." Going by that definition, it would be hard to argue no.

Bruce,We may indee... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Bruce,

We may indeed. Government has legitimate functions, no argument there. These functions are ones that no one else can or will fulfill because they're in everyone's and no one's interest at the same time. Defense and roads are the classic examples.

FDA and ATC functions could be turfed out, I suspect. FDA doesn't function well, and drives up the cost of drugs. (I work in the industry.) ATC is notoriously behind the times (their radars reportedly use vacuum tubes in some cases!). An industry-wide insurance pool could probably do a better job and drive down costs as well. But for now, yeah, FDA and ATC are legitimate.

Labor standards I'm less sure about. Gotta think about that one. How about this one for you: should public sector unions be allowed? I don't think so; no one else gets to vote on who his boss is, and to exert pressure on his boss career to pay him more. Look at Greece - or California, where I live - to see how that works out. Public sector unions gotta go.

Minimum wage? You lose me there. I think we should absolutely lose the minimum wage. Why should the government dictate the terms of a contract between individuals? There's no maximum wage. All minimum wage does is raise the cost of living across the board. Rising tide lifts all ships and all that. What would happen if we doubled everyone's pay today? Easy - prices would double tomorrow, and then absolutely nothing would perceptibly change.

Also, think about this: how does one decide what the minimum wage should be? It's purely arbitrary. Why not make it $20/hr? $50/hr? In those cases, the answer is clear: because minimum wage workers' productivity isn't worth that much to employers. Conversely, why isn't the minimum wage $2/hr? Because no one will work for that little. So the controlling principle is what wage simultaneously strikes a potential employee and a potential employer as worthwhile for each of them? I don't see where the government should come into the equation.

What a clever riposte, jim ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

What a clever riposte, jim x.

But here's the point: liberals advocate policies that they themselves do not believe in.

I'm not accusing them of hypocrisy here (although that would be justified), but rather of showing through their deeds that they don't really believe in all the liberal crap they spew either.

Obvious examples are Algore and Laurie David on about AGW, but living very very large indeed. Clearly they don't really believe in AGW either. If Laurie thought AGW could cause breast cancer, would she be flying around all the time? Of course not. Yet fly around she does. Algore bought a $9 MM mansion on the beach near Santa Barbara. Would he do that if he thought the oceans really were going to rise? Hmmm?

Another example: George Soros. Gotta help the poor, do we, George? You helped make a lot of people (esp. Thais) poor. You ground Third World people into the dirt to make some more filthy billions for yourself by manipulating the baht or other Southeast Asian currencies.

How about Barbra Streisand? So concerned for the little people, right? But she won't let her staff look her in the face (as if they would want to), and sued a guy photographing the California coastline from the sky because he included her mansion. So she's concerned for the little people, but just wants that scum kept away from her. So she doesn't really believe in liberalism either. But for vapid pronouncements, she could be a robber baron, couldn't she?

Oh, and about paying taxes, which liberals tell us we should do as our patriotic duty. How many Obamanauts have been busted for not paying theirs? I mean, besides the fucking Secretary of the Treasury? And how many others have paid their nannies a pittance under the table and not paid taxes, workmen's comp or any other social welfare payments? Yes, I'm looking at you, Lani Guinier, among others. None of them believe that crap either, obviously.

Again, my point is not that they're hypocrites, although they are, but rather that when you look at their actions, it's clear what they really believe. And it ain't liberalism.

Well Jay G., I don't see ho... (Below threshold)
jim x:

Well Jay G., I don't see how Al Gore is a hypocrite for living well. His whole point is that we **can** live well and have thriving businesses while also having a sustainable lifestyle. He pays money that he doesn't have to, in order to offset his energy expenditures in ways that invest in green technologies. To me that sounds more like putting putting his money where his mouth is.

And George Soros is a capitalist who believes in liberal policies, because he thinks liberal policies are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations. This is only a contradiction if people think liberals are automatically socialists who want to wipe out the rich in order to help the poor. Which I can tell you as a liberal, is not true.

And Barbara Streisand is a stupid b***h. : ) Seriously, I've never liked her, especially since Harlan Ellison related that she took the money they both were singing for, when they were both starting out and broke in Manhattan.

And as for taxes and follow... (Below threshold)
jim x:

And as for taxes and following the rule of law, I can produce just the same sort of list of members of any Republican cabinet you care to mention, going back at least through Nixon.

Which is besides the point that Obama's administration is far more centrist than liberal, in any case. But I digress.

I don't see how... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I don't see how Al Gore is a hypocrite for living well. His whole point is that we **can** live well and have thriving businesses while also having a sustainable lifestyle.

Let's do this by the numbers. Gore is a hypocrite (for banging on about our, but apparently not his, need to consume less and make do with less), but that wasn't my point. My point was that if he really thinks the oceans are going to rise, then he's an idiot for buying...uh...beachfront property. If he thought a tsunami were coming, would he run down to the beach? That was my point.

He pays money that he doesn't have to, in order to offset his energy expenditures in ways that invest in green technologies.

Jim, he buys carbon credits from himself. That's like transferring a $20 bill from one pocket to the other. It's a straight-up scam.

And George Soros is a capitalist who believes in liberal policies, because he thinks liberal policies are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations.

I can tell you what would make for more freedom and economic well-being of nations: George Soros at the end of a rope. Did Soros believe in liberal policies when he savagely fucked the people of Thailand and Malaysia, driving them down further into poverty, merely to enrich himself still further? Or when he, by his own admission, engineered coups in Slovakia, Croatia, Georgia, and Yugoslavia? How did those work out?

On the bright side, at least we agree re Streisand.

And as for taxe... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

And as for taxes and following the rule of law, I can produce just the same sort of list of members of any Republican cabinet you care to mention, going back at least through Nixon.

Please do. I'm interested in learning about this.

Gore is a hypocrite (for... (Below threshold)

Gore is a hypocrite (for banging on about our, but apparently not his, need to consume less and make do with less), but that wasn't my point.

My point is, if you think Gore is saying people shouldn't have wealth and enjoy it then you are misunderstanding him. And ditto if you think he's saying we may as well not enjoy anything because we're all about to die.

He's a rich man, who wants to be rich. He also thinks that there are problems we have to deal with, that will require some changes - changes which are also business opportunities.

I can't expect to change your mind on global warming. I'm just trying to make you see that he's not a hypocrite, simply because he disagrees with conservative opinion on global warming, and at the same time he doesn't mind enjoying money.

And saying he's a hypocrite because he buys credits from himself? That's like saying Bill Gates is a hypocrite because he uses a Windows. If Al Gore *didn't* use his own approved products to offset his consumption, *then* he would be a hypocrite.

As for the "savage" way Soros allegedly treated Malaysia, that may well be true. However, that does not make Soros a hypocrite - unless you can show when and where Soros said that the US should outlaw making money from poor nations.

Please do. I'm intereste... (Below threshold)
jim x:

Please do. I'm interested in learning about this.

Well you can use The Google just as well as I can, but ok.

GWB:

Specific personal in come tax problems were difficult to isolate for GWB, it's true. This is what came up:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/07/opinion/07KRUG.html

John Snow: Secretary of Treasury - magically made his company not pay any income taxes on a $900 million **profit**, for THREE YEARS. Was still appointed of course.


http://www.answers.com/topic/what-were-some-problems-george-w-bush-encountered-when-putting-together-his-cabinet

"Bush's first choice to head the Department of Labor, Linda Chavez, withdrew her nomination after it was revealed that she housed and possibly employed an undocumented immigrant, an illegal alien. "

Of course there were (and still are) the many questions regarding GWB's *own* tax evasion.

http://archive.democrats.com/display.cfm?id=290

" * Mr. Bush was allowed to purchase Harken stock at a 40% discount in 1986 and 1988. This discount was taxable as ordinary income - $38,400 in 1986 and $33,750 in 1988.
* In 1989, Mr. Bush was relieved of the obligation to repay the loans - turning the loans into a taxable "sham transaction," and turning the previously untaxed 60% into taxable income of $108,225. (Since there is no statute of limitations for fraudulent sham transactions, the IRS could still assess Mr. Bush for these amounts.)
* Since the loans were below market rate, the interest rate discount (the difference between the market rate and Mr. Bush's rate of 5%) is also taxable for every year from 1986 to 1993.
* When the entire loan was cancelled in 1993, the accumulated 5% interest charges became taxable as well.
* If Mr. Bush did not report each of these transactions in the year in which they occurred, then he filed false returns in those years - a crime for which Leona Helmsley was convicted - and committed perjury when he signed the returns. "

GWHB:The worst I c... (Below threshold)

GWHB:

The worst I could find for him specifically was John Tower.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair

Pretty heavily involved in the Iran-Contra affair, and also was alleged to have had a very cozy relationship with numerous defense contractors.

My point is, if... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

My point is, if you think Gore is saying people shouldn't have wealth and enjoy it then you are misunderstanding him.

That's not what I'm saying. My point was that Gore has been saying that we should have less wealth - consume less - to reduce our carbon footprint. And that's exactly what he's said, on numerous occasions, in virtually so many words.

And ditto if you think he's saying we may as well not enjoy anything because we're all about to die.

Where did this come from? Straight-up straw man, Jim.

I will repeat my point yet again: Gore has bleated about the oceans rising because of AGW. OK. Then he buys a house ...right on the beach. So if he's right about AGW, his house is at risk of inundation. Conversely, if he's not worried about having a house under water, then he doesn't think AGW is a threat.

Put it this way. Suppose someone said a volcano was about to erupt, and then built a house on its slopes. Wouldn't that make you question his sincerity? If I thought the oceans were going to rise significantly, I wouldn't buy beachfront property. Would you? But Al did. That's my point.

He's a rich man, who wants to be rich.

Actually, he wasn't that rich before AGW. He initially latched onto AGW to revive his political fortunes, because he'd become a joke. (And I voted for him in 2000 - true story.) Then he realized the bucks that could be made, and God knows he's made a bundle. Now he's on course to become the world's first carbon billionaire. He wants to be rich; he just doesn't want us - you and me - to be rich, because that would endanger the planet.

He also thinks that there are problems we have to deal with, that will require some changes - changes which are also business opportunities.

Opportunities for the rent-seekers. Gore and his fellow sleazes are selling the eco equivalent of beanie babies.

And saying he's a hypocrite because he buys credits from himself?

I just bought $100 trillion worth of carbon credits from myself, so I'm a lot more virtuous than Gore. Do you think it's enough? If not, I'll be happy to buy a few more hundred trillion carbon credits from myself. No problem.

Can't you see, Jim, that the transaction is a sham? He's on both sides of the transaction; he's both the buyer and the seller. That's not a real transaction; there's no net transfer of wealth. That's financial kabuki.

That's like saying Bill Gates is a hypocrite because he uses Windows.

No. One's nothing like the other. Surely you can see that. A copy of Windows costs a few hundred bucks. Gates is worth (financially) billions. A better analogy would be if Gates agreed to sell himself Microsoft shares at twice the asking price, and then borrowed against the difference. This is the sort of thing that Japanese banks did in the 1980s.

As for the "savage" way Soros allegedly treated Malaysia, that may well be true.

Here's the NYT's take on the whole thing.

Bottom line: Soros got rich(er), and left Malaysia and Thailand, who got poorer, bleeding from every orifice. As liberals love to say, follow the money. This would be bad enough from a robber baron, but from someone who claims to want to improve the life and well-being of the downtrodden, it is unforgiveable. He trod down further the downtrodden.

However, that does not make Soros a hypocrite - unless you can show when and where Soros said that the US should outlaw making money from poor nations.

First, I didn't say that what Soros did was illegal (outlawed). I indicated it was reprehensible. There's a difference between what's legal and what's moral.

Second, surely you can see the contradiction here. Soros "thinks liberal policies are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations." Well, they weren't better for the economic well-being of Thailand or Malaysia, and both are pissed about it, too. Besides which, how is fucking poor nations any different from fucking poor people in one nation, except in terms of degree? I'm a straight-up capitalist, and I have a problem with both scenarios, which I view as indistinguishable. Going out of your way to manipulate the fortunes of the poor merely to further enrich yourself...sucks.

Reagan, on the other hand, ... (Below threshold)

Reagan, on the other hand, had so many appointees who got criminal *convictions in office* that it wasn't clear where to start. Seriously the most in history - 138.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration_scandals

And Nixon, similar issues - although not on the same scale, but arguably for worse reasons and causing worse damage to the Republic.

But, I must admit, none of these Presidents appear to have had the same issues of not vetting appointees for tax return problems. Tell the truth and shame the devil; Obama could have and should have done a better job vetting his appointees for their taxes.

That's not what I'm sayi... (Below threshold)

That's not what I'm saying. My point was that Gore has been saying that we should have less wealth - consume less - to reduce our carbon footprint.

Well that is a fundamentally different understanding of wealth. Wealth does not have to be measured in any way by how much you consume. Wealth can also - and in my view more accurately - be measured by what you are able to do.

So if you think Al Gore is saying you should *have less*, then that's wrong. What he is saying is that we can and should find ways to *do more with what we have*.

Do you understand the difference between those two ways of thinking?

Soros "thinks liberal po... (Below threshold)

Soros "thinks liberal policies are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations." Well, they weren't better for the economic well-being of Thailand or Malaysia, and both are pissed about it, too.

Let's say that's true.

That would make George Soros *wrong* - but it wouldn't make him a *hypocrite*.

A hypocrite is someone who does something that directly contradicts what they say they believe in. Unless you can show George Soros specifically saying people should *not* do what he did, and then doing it - then this example does not make him a hypocrite.

Do you understand what I'm saying? You can disagree with them and think they're completely wrong, awful, bad and stupid - but unless you can show they are doing the opposite of what they say should be done, then you cannot justly call them hypocrites.

Going out of your way to... (Below threshold)

Going out of your way to manipulate the fortunes of the poor merely to further enrich yourself...sucks.

I entirely agree. If only George Soros were the only person that did this. But, as I'm sure you know, this isn't something that only George Soros has done. Nor only liberals, for darn sure.

I entirely agree. ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
I entirely agree. If only George Soros were the only person that did this. But, as I'm sure you know, this isn't something that only George Soros has done. Nor only liberals, for darn sure.

Ah, a delightful tu quoque. But doesn't it give you pause for thought when a champion of "liberal policies [that] are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations" cornholes the weak and defenseless? Wouldn't you have expected someone advocating "liberal policies ...for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations" to have comported himself more honorably?

Per my original point: Soros doesn't believe in liberal policies either. He believes in the aggrandizement of #1. That's implicit in human nature, and in capitalism, up to a point (which Soros passes by a lot), but when Soros's interests are involved - liberal vaporings notwithstanding - you and I will go ass up over the kitchen table if it suits him.

Wealth can also... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Wealth can also - and in my view more accurately - be measured by what you are able to do.

Wealth is measured not by what you are able to do, but by what you do not have to do. A subsistence farmer is not wealthy, no matter what he is able to do, because he has to farm tomorrow to survive. He has to work tomorrow, or starve. To whatever extent he has the option to kick back, he has wealth (aka capital, aka deferred consumption).

So if you think Al Gore is saying you should *have less*, then that's wrong. What he is saying is that we can and should find ways to *do more with what we have*.

No. He has said, on numerous occasions, that we - not he, apparently - should make do with less, to cut back on our energy consumption to reduce our "carbon footprint." There is no way that that would not lead to less wealth. Look at the economic effect of the oil shocks of the 1970s; rising energy costs clobbered our economy.

Jimx, give it a fucking res... (Below threshold)
Cylar:

Jimx, give it a fucking rest already.

You lost the debate. Deal with it. The points you were trying to make were completely eviscerated, and every time you responded by trying to move the goalposts. You aren't fooling anyone.

Maybe you ought to get lost and quit wasting everyone's time and bandwidth, eh?

Interesting debate.<p... (Below threshold)
ukobserver:

Interesting debate.

As a follower of US politics from the UK l have to say that in the last seven years of watching the US political process in action my own view is that blindly falling for the lies of a dry drunk AWOL National Air Guard "pilot" and his profit obsessed, torture loving, five deferment vice-president into an illegal war kept off your national budget after failing to protect your country after the worst terrorist attack in your nation's history happened because they failed in their duty, while setting up an economic policy of top end tax cuts which has seen the top 1% of your population walk off with over 20% of your yearly national income, deregualting as many safety holds which help protect the public wether it be in the food industry, mining industry or financial industry, removing restrictions which helped keep the beauty of the US envionment one of the wonders of the world while persuing a mind-numbingly stupid idea of letting close-minded religious zelots take over parts of your education system (a move that if fully sucessful will not only set your country back decades on the education front, but will also make you a laughing stock), trying to pass policies aimed at demonizing growing sections of future voters to ensure the vote of a base which is showing all signs of receeding not growing and making one of your national stars the half-term Governor of your northern most state who converses mainly by Twitter and Facebook unless she is doing puff pieces on the agenda ridden cable "News" channel (do not forget, because it's owned by the former Aussie R Murdoch we too get to see Faux "News" in action) who are trying and failing with an effort that would make King Sysiphus blanch to make her look in any way presidential would be seen by all those who are rational (or have a small amount of sanity remaining) to be the very definition of stupidity.

It also doesn't help when your supporters fail miserably with their protest signs:

http://growabrain.typepad.com/growabrain/Morans.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2056/2403957312_247d108ea9.jpg

But l live in the UK where 74% of the voting public did their best to ensure that our own elitist son of privilege hopefully doesn't get the chance to give all of our money to his friends in the city just like yours did. ;-)

Then you must be pleased th... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Then you must be pleased that Buraq is President. Please choose your next PM quickly, so Buraq can snub him like a shoeshine boy the way he did Gordon Brown, and hang Britain out to dry on the Falklands ... er ... make that Las Malvinas.

Of course, if Britain (or any other European country) gets in trouble, you can always count on Buraq. Yessir. You're safe with Buraq. You know how he steps up to help his friends. It's just that you're not among them.

Okay, just a couple of poin... (Below threshold)
ukobserver:

Okay, just a couple of points.

Firstly, contrary to the rubbish spouted by morans on Faux or the racist, obese, mysoginistic, sex-holidaying, half-deaf drug addict who is the de facto head of the GOP perception of the US around the world is a lot highe than it has been because an adult is now president of the US and with not try to deride "Old Europe" if they don't wish to join in an illegal war for oil profits. You may want to laud Tony Blair over there but his actions in joining in with Bush have left a lot of innocent blood on his hands and that will never be forgiven nor forgotten.

Secondly, The Malvinas just like Gibralta isn't British. It may have got Thatcher through an election snd helped seal her place in history but it wasn't done for the good of the British people, just for a right wing government who were weak at the time. Looks like history repeats itself, a right winger starting a war to stay in power.

Third, "Jay Guevara"? You seriously went with "Jay Guevara"?
What, you couldn't find a right wing icon from a t-shirt to use?
There was no witty way to rework Strom Thurmond?
You actually had to resort to a communist?

That is very, very weak.

Great. Then you've got noth... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Great. Then you've got nothing to worry about.

You lost the debate. Dea... (Below threshold)
jim x:

You lost the debate. Deal with it. The points you were trying to make were completely eviscerated, and every time you responded by trying to move the goalposts. You aren't fooling anyone.

Great! Please show me a) how I was proven wrong, and b) the goalposts I moved. Since it's that obvious and easy, that should be no problem for you.

Of course, you could also be as wrong jas Jay G is, in thinking you understand what "hypocrite" actually means. Let's see.

Wealth is measured... (Below threshold)
Wealth is measured not by what you are able to do, but by what you do not have to do.

Ok. So first, we're both agreed that the definition of wealth as "how much stuff you have", is faulty or incomplete.

Second, your definition of wealth as "not having to do things you don't want to", is just another version of my definition - being able to do things.

So "Doing more with less" does not equal **having less**. It means being efficient with what you have, so it can be invested more wisely.

Now we can do smart things as a society and a group of people, or dumb things. If we as a society create policies that encourage people to do smart things, then we prosper. If we encourage people to do dumb things, then we don't.

We can agree or disagree about whether or not Al Gore's suggestions are smart.

But to suggest that Al Gore is a hypocrite for a) suggesting that we as a society shouldn't blow our wealth, but should use it in a smart and efficient manner, and at the same b) spending money on nice things for himself and his family while c) offsetting his consumption in the exact same way he suggests everyone else does - this simply is not hypocrisy. Sorry.

There is no way that that would not lead to less wealth. Look at the economic effect of the oil shocks of the 1970s; rising energy costs clobbered our economy.

Oh come on now. Yes, the 1970's oil issues had a terrible effect on our economy - because we had nothing else to use. So we were victim to scarcity, speculation, and any number of other issues.

But to suggest that becoming more efficient with our energy use **by itself** would raise oil costs to any degree similar to the 1970's, is simply ridiculous. There is literally no rational reason why that would happen.

Other nations around the world are becoming far more energy efficient than we are, and converting off of oil, to wind and other sources; it doesn't seem to have raised their oil costs more than otherwise expected. Why is that?

But doesn't it giv... (Below threshold)
jim x:
But doesn't it give you pause for thought when a champion of "liberal policies [that] are better both for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations" cornholes the weak and defenseless?

Sure, it can give me pause. And if true, I can think it's horribly awful and wrong.

It just doesn't make Soros a hypocrite - because there's nothing in the policies he supports that go against his actions.

This is because both liberal and conservative economic policy don't really care about the poor **in other nations**. It's just not a factor. Screwing over the poor and the powerless is an unspoken fact of ALL economic policy, so-called liberal and conservative.

Wouldn't you have expected someone advocating "liberal policies ...for social freedom and for the economic wellbeing of nations" to have comported himself more honorably?

No more than I would have expected a supposed Compassionate conservative to actually care enough about the poor to help them.

Ah, never mind my last post... (Below threshold)

Ah, never mind my last post. :) I just looked up George Soros on Wikipedia, and in his own words, he actually is a hypocrite. : )

This is because he advocates market regulation of the exact same sort which would have made him unable to do what he did in Malaysia.

Jim, no problem. I really r... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Jim, no problem. I really respect your checking the facts, and even more your intellectual honesty.

Seriously. Well done.

Well, thanks. : )I... (Below threshold)

Well, thanks. : )

It's like, "Well, why defend this guy when he actually does suck?"

Thanks for the thanks, and ... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the thanks, and ditto.




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