Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Is the Forgotten Man?

Samizdata's Quote of the Day for yesterday:

“Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, willing to earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent, self-supporting, and asks no favors. He does not appeal to the emotions or excite the sentiments. He only wants to make a contract and fulfil it, with respect to both sides and favor on neither side. He must get his living out of the capital of the country. The larger the capital is, the better living he can get. Every particle of capital which is wasted on the vicious, the idle, and the shiftless is so much taken from the capital available to reward the independent and productive laborer. But we stand with our backs to the independent and productive laborer all the time. We do not remember him because he makes no clamor; but appeal to you whether he is not the man who ought to be remembered first of all, and whether, on any sound social theory, we ought not to protect him against the burdens of the good-for-nothing.”

- The Forgotten Man, page 209 from On Liberty, Society and Politics. The Essential Writings of William Graham Sumner, Edited by Robert C. Bannister.

Very well said. Johnathan Pearce has further comments on the quote so click on over and take a look.  More Sumner essays are available free of charge at the online library of Liberty Fund.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Failure of Al Gore and the Green Movement

I haven't blogged about the global warming/climate change debate in quite a while as I was getting rather exhausted with the subject and others are doing a much better job of shining light on the subject. One such is Walter Russell Mead who has written  a pair of essays on Al Gore and the Green movement, the failure of their argument for a Global Green Carbon Treaty and why the whole enterprise was and is destined to fail. Part One is here and Part Deux is here. Of course you should read both essays but here is a sample from Part Deux:

Mr. Gore’s work up to and including his latest Rolling Stone essay has taken a demagogic rather than intellectual approach. His method of arguing is to trumpet the science of climate change and to make ad hominem arguments against its opponents. The science is clear, it is settled, and the opposition against it is funded by people with an economic stake in denial. I am right about the science and my opponents are a bunch of evil opportunists in it only for the money.

That is Mr. Gore’s position, and it is his entire position. He says nothing about the feasibility of the proposed GGCT or its cost effectiveness. That, presumably, we must take on faith. There is nothing to discuss about policy. It is essentially the cry of Chicken Little: “The sky is falling and we must run and tell the king.”

Thus speaketh Al Gore: the world is burning down and so you must immediately follow my plan for fixing what’s wrong. He does not discuss whether his plan is feasible; to anyone who objects to the ponderous, unwieldy Rube Goldberg style green treaty agenda, Gore simply bellows: “What’s the matter you soul-dead, hired flack of the evil oil companies, don’t you believe in Science?”

Al Gore’s logic is exactly like the genealogy of the man who boasted that his line of descent went all the way back to Julius Caesar — with only two gaps. Gore’s ironclad argument has only two gaps: he presents no evidence that the GGCT is either feasible (that it would be efficacious if put into practice and that it can in fact be put into practice in a reasonable time frame) or economical (that it is the cheapest and most effective means of reaching the goal, and that the cost of the fix is less than the cost of the problem).

This is the method of the global green movement as shaped by Al Gore: an ever-crescendoing invocation of blizzards, droughts, locusts and floods aims to stampede the populace into embracing one of the most dubious and unworkable policy prescriptions ever presented to the public eye.
And from Part One on Gore's rank hypocrisy:

But you cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess. If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.

It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.

You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the point: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.”


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Who Are the Socialists?

There are none, according to Victor Davis Hanson:

There are none. Only technocratic overseers who wish to give someone else’s money to others as a means of winning capitalist-style lifestyles and power for themselves — in a penultimate cycle of unsustainable spending. When this latest attempt at statism is over, Barack Obama will enjoy a sort of Clintonism, a globe-trotting post officium lifestyle of multimillion dollar honoraria to fund a lifestyle analogous to “two Americas” John Edwards, “earth in the balance” Al Gore, a tax-exempt yachting John Kerry, a revolving-door Citibank grandee like Peter Orszag, or a socialist Strauss-Kahn in $20,000 suits doling out billions to the “poor.”
"So what is Socialism?"

It is a sort of modern version of Louis XV’s “Après moi, le déluge” – an unsustainable Ponzi scheme in which elite overseers, for the duration of their own lives, enjoy power, influence, and gratuities by implementing a system that destroys the sort of wealth for others that they depend upon for themselves.
And there's this:

This discussion is, of course, a belabored example of why and how socialists do not like socialism. Indeed, statism is not a desired outcome, but rather more a strategy for obtaining power or winning acclaim as one of the caring, by offering the narcotic of promising millions something free at the expense of others who must be seen as culpable and obligated to fund it — entitlements fueled by someone else’s money that enfeebled the state, but in the process extended power, influence, and money to a technocratic class of overseers who are exempt from the very system that they have advocated.
Read the whole thing.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Mr Kelly Goes to Washington - and Gives'em Hell

A magnificent rant by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), taking both sides of the aisle to task, and the Democrats in particular, over the lack of progress on passing a budget.

(via Hot Air)
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Brilliant Defense of Free Speech by Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn makes a remote appearance at an event held by Australia's Institute for Public Affairs to stand up for the free speech rights of Australia's best known conservative columnist, Andrew Bolt. Bolt is being prosecuted under the country's very restrictive racial tolerance laws.

(Via  Power Line)
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Is Dmitri Medvedev to the Right of Obama?

By this account at Power Line it certainly sounds plausible.

Read the whole thing.

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The Wisdom of Winston

Samizdata's Quote of the Day today:

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle

- Winston Churchill
The fact that this isn't self-evident is a crying shame.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

OMG, It's Right Under Me!

I don't know why this one amuses me so much but it does.

Your mileage may vary.

(via Charlie Martin at The Tatler)

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Klavan's Economic Smackdown: Paul Ryan vs. Barack Obama

Andrew Klavan compares the Ryan Medicare plan (an actual plan) to Obama's (demagoguery).

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

Nemesis Strikes Again

Victor Davis Hanson returns once again to the theme of Nemesis in this piece over at Pajamas Media.

Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others. What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common?

Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state. Bono and his ensemble may be the highest paid rock group in the world, the most eager to shake a finger at Western governments on their moral duties to help the less fortunate. He is a pop icon always ready to fault the consumerist Western lifestyle. But Bono and his pals are quite determined to avoid Irish tax laws to ensure more of their hard-won capitalist profits so necessary to support their global lifestyles, at a time when their alma mater is broke and unable to fund its once ample entitlements.

They are all part of what Angelo Codevilla called the Ruling Class. They make the rules to apply to us, but not to them.

The always astute commenter cfbleachers adds the following to VDH's piece:

If you pay homage to the leftist propaganda machine, you don’t have to worry about accountability.

You have to worry about karma.

You have to be a complete imbecile to be a leftist and get caught in a scandal. Tony Baloney lied through his teeth, blamed others, said it was a frame up by wingnuts, said he was hacked….

John Edwards lived in “two Americas”, one where honor and integrity were merely trifling things and the other where he lied about them with impunity.

Barney Frank has never been made to come clean about the prostitution ring in his basement or his close ties to Fannie’s internal collapse.

Obama and Rezco, his and Michelle’s law licenses, Ayers, ….there is a pathway from the lack of accountability that leads directly to corruption.

Republicans, being held to a higher standard by BOTH constituencies, fair far worse when exposed.

Leftists being held to NO standard by their own, and, in fact often given great cover…are the new integrity welfare state. They are dependent upon the coverup and corruption in the media and their inner circles. The conspiracy of silence destroys their need for honor.

Nothing they do, say or promote gets examined…and therefore it becomes weak, corrupt and necrotic.

They are the permanent ethical underclass, living in a ghetto of no scruples. And, worst of all…it looks like paradise to them.

Read it all.
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