All things must pass

This post is highly speculative; take it with a grain of salt.

Traumatic events such as wars are often followed by a backlash. The side that feels vindicated will lash out against those seen as being on the other side. After the Civil War, the radical Republicans went after (moderate) President Andrew Johnson. After WWI, the statists went after the anarchists and pacifists. After WWII (and Korea) you had a wave of anti-communism.  After Vietnam, liberal Democrats went after Nixon.

Don’t get bogged down in the details; there are generally broader trends at work. Thus Nixon’s downfall is directly linked to the Watergate break-in, but Nixon was actually attacked for a wide range of abuses, involving domestic spying, war crimes in Southeast Asia, and lots of other stuff. Congress passed laws reining in institutions such as the CIA.

I wonder if the Trump era will fall into this pattern. Obviously there is no major war going on, but at a psychological level it feels a bit like a civil war. Perhaps the Trump era will be followed by the same sort of “reign of terror” as followed earlier traumatic events. Eventually Trump will fall, and the establishment (led by the Democrats) will at some point seek to punish Trump and the administration officials that implemented his policies.

I suspect the “political correctness” movement will play the same role in the 2020s as the anti-communist movement played in the 1950s. Let’s think about some parallels. These backlash movements are often tied to very justified causes, but occasionally overreach. Thus the Confederacy really was evil, but there was overreach in trying to impeach Johnson for not being sufficiently punitive toward the South. Communism really was evil, but there was overreach in going after Hollywood screenwriters. Trump really is evil, but there is occasional overreach in going after people not deemed sufficiently “politically correct”.

Let me use an example that may at first seem off topic, but is actually linked to all the current craziness. The Me-Too movement is a long overdo attack on powerful men who abuse women. And I’d also argue:

1. Trump is a sort of anti-Me-Too figure. (The same could be said for substantial parts of the GOP.)
2. Some liberal anti-Trumpers who are mildly supportive of Me-Too are getting attacked for not being sufficiently closely allied with the Me-Too movement.

The first point is pretty obvious. Trump himself has been accused of abuse by many women, and he frequently defends other men who have been accused of abuse. Many of the women that support Trump are themselves skeptical of Me-Too, and of feminism more broadly.

On the second point, a good example occurred recently with the New York Review of Books.  Ian Buruma (editor of the NYRB) agreed to publish a piece by a Canadian media figure that had been accused of abusing 23 women. Buruma was interested in publishing an account of what it was like to be publicly shamed.  Not surprisingly, many people were outraged, as they viewed this decision as Buruma allowing the abuser to whitewash his actions in a prestigious media outlet.

I think you can make a good argument that Buruma used poor judgment in this case. On the other hand, the firing of Buruma was clear overreach and not justified by his decision, even if mistaken. Honest people can disagree about how to reconcile the public’s interest in learning the perspective of shamed people, with the public interest in shaming bad people.

I expect the eventual downfall of Trump to unleash a huge wave of political correctness across the country. It’s important to put these sorts of waves into perspective, and not overreact either way. Thus the McCarthy era persecution of the Rosenbergs was justified, whereas the attacks on the Hollywood screenwriters were not. The underlying “cause” of anti-communism was of course quite justified, right up there with the anti-slavery movement of the 1800s and the war on fascism during the 1940s. But, as with any movement full of passionate, self-righteous people, there will be occasional overreach.

It’s quite likely that I’ll eventually become caught in the anti-Trump backlash, as “collateral damage”. This might seem surprising, as I’m among the most outspoken anti-Trumpers in the econ blogosphere. If you are surprised, then you’ve never studied the Chinese Cultural Revolution, where even the devout communists eventually became shamed and persecuted.  I’ll eventually become seen as a Trumpian old white male, who just doesn’t “get it”.  Someone will dig up my old posts where I mock certain tenets of political correctness, such as the recent hysteria over cultural appropriation.

So why am I not worried about my likely fate? Let’s go back to Trump for a moment. Trump clearly has fascist instincts, and idolizes strong authoritarian leaders. But he’s also enmeshed in an American constitutional system that gives him relatively little power. So he governs as a fairly conventional Republican, except for a few symbolic actions such as the recent trade war. I’ve consistently argued that not much would change under Trump, and so far I’ve been right.

Similarly, although the eventual overreach of anti-Trump political correctness will resemble the Chinese Cultural Revolution on a stylistic level, in fact it will be mostly empty theatre—not mass murder. I’m in the fortunate position where I’m not vulnerable to public shaming. It makes no difference to me if I lose my job–heck I’d love an excuse to retire! I don’t care what others think of my political views; indeed I’ve always been a contrarian thinker.  And I don’t follow Twitter, which is where the shaming often occurs.  (Others will not be so lucky.)

In the post-Trump era, I’ll cheer the attacks on Trump officials who did abuse government power and I’ll attack the excesses of left-wing PCism where appropriate. Classical liberalism is my lodestar, an ideal that never needs replacement. Both the left and the right have periods where they reject classical liberalism. Right now, the biggest threat in the world is right wing, xenophobic, misogynistic, authoritarian nationalism. And that’s where I focus my attacks. But there will come a day where the biggest threat will be left-wing PCism run amuck, and when that occurs I’ll focus my attacks on that group.

BTW, one aspect of the current moment that is often overlooked is that there is a sort of generational war simmering below the surface. During the 1960s, the hippies were not just horrified by the Vietnam War and racism; they were horrified by the older generation. After all, the older generation had produced the system that the hippies despised. Something similar is occurring with the Me-Too movement. The younger generation is clearly contemptuous of the older generation, at least regarding the sexual harassment issue. And how could it be otherwise? The older generation tolerated these abuses for decades. Indeed someone recently dug up a tape of a “roast” at one of the major networks, where several participants made fun of Matt Lauer’s practice of abusing women. To my generation, this stuff was just a big joke—the “casting couch” phenomenon. How could the younger generation not be horrified by us old fogies, who just don’t get it?

Earlier I referred to the Buruma firing, and this seems relevant:

Were there in-house objections to the piece?

No. We had a proper office discussion and everybody expressed their views and not everybody agreed. But all views were aired and in the end, when the decision was made, the office stuck together.

Was there a gender breakdown during the discussion?

How old are you?

I’m 66

I like Buruma a lot, but he comes off poorly in this interview.  People of my generation need to spend some time rethinking their assumptions and at the very least come up with better defenses for their views, assuming they decide not to change their views.  (Of course it goes without saying that younger SJWs need to be more tolerant of views with which they disagree.)

I’m already looking past the Trump era, and even past the post-Trump backlash excesses.  Its helps to view the past, present, and future from a “timeless perspective”.  At least it’s less stressful to see things that way. All things must pass.

PS.  Here’s what the NYRB should have done.  Hire someone to write an opinion piece on Me-Too.  Have them interview a few abusers to get a sense of what it’s like to be shamed, and whether they’ve rethought their attitude toward women.  But also include interviews with the women who have suffered emotional trauma from the abuse, to put things into perspective.

 


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54 Responses to “All things must pass”

  1. Gravatar of Mark Wilson Mark Wilson
    22. September 2018 at 09:39

    Hi,

    My name is Mark Wilson. I am a small shop owner in Bartlett, a beautiful town in Tennessee, a state famous for its country music and passion flowers.

    It is good to find such a space for intelligent and principled people. I belong to no political party and, as you, am deeply disgusted by the sad spectacle of today’s partisan politics with its share of mean-spiritedness and divisiveness. However, as I watch my two little girls sleeping soundly at night, I think about the America we will be leaving to them soon and worry. A lot. Will America still be the best country in the world? Will it still be the sole superpower? Will it even survive?

    You main think I will now launch a rant about politics, but I will just state a few little-known facts the mainstream media is hiding from you. You will be the judge.

    Brazil is a few days from the most important presidential election in its history. Representative Captain Bolsonaro, the leading candidate, a free-market, anti-corruption centrist politician with a distinguished military carreer behind him, is a good friend of America’s. He has recently survived an attack from a (pro-Red China?!) leftist terrorist. Mr. Haddad, a leftist candidate handpicked by corrupt (and jailed) former president Lula is gaining ground pretty fast. The vice president of Equatorial Guinea’s (a Red China’s pupet regime) entourage was caught in Brazil with millions of dollars in luxury goods. He said he was going to visit a doctor. Holy healthcare inflation, Batman! Do they have death panels in Brazil, too? Let us be blunt: the money surely was to support corrupt leftist candidate Mr. Haddad campaign.

    Let me tell you something: Brazil is bigger than the Roman Empire at its height. If the Chinese succeed in installing their puppet in power there, it will not be the Cuban Missile Crisis, it will be Armageddon for American democracy. Brazil’s Alcantara rocket launching base can be use to launch nuclear weapons against us.

    You may be asking what you, as a private individual, can do. Plenty, actually. Just take a few moments to email, mail or phone your Representative and your Senators. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you want a full scale federal investigation on foreign interference in Brazil’s elections. Please, do it for my children. Do it for all our children.

    Tank you for your attention.
    May God bless you all.

  2. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    22. September 2018 at 10:20

    The younger generation is clearly contemptuous of the older generation, at least regarding the sexual harassment issue.

    What? Where are you getting this? It’s mostly older women who seem to be driving #MeToo.

    Classical liberalism is my lodestar, an ideal that never needs replacement.

    No. Neoliberalism is your lodestar.

    the biggest threat in the world is right wing, xenophobic, misogynistic, authoritarian nationalism.

    Hm… why? From a humanitarian perspective, isn’t the biggest threat in the world corrupt African governments? Do you never panic when things go according to plan? What power do right-wing, xenophobic, misogynistic, authoritarian nationalists have? Italy’s government is real, but it isn’t really right-wing or misogynistic. Russia’s government is real, but it isn’t really xenophobic or misogynistic. In fact, I’m not seeing any significant rollback of women’s excesses anywhere in the world.

    indeed I’ve always been a contrarian thinker.

    Not politically. Politically, you are the opposite of contrarian.

    But he’s also enmeshed in an American constitutional system that gives him relatively little power.

    I don’t think that’s the correct interpretation. I think the correct interpretation is that Trump has always been a conventional Republican.

  3. Gravatar of Tim Tim
    22. September 2018 at 11:13

    “I think the correct interpretation is that Trump has always been a conventional Republican.”

    Even when he was a Democrat?

  4. Gravatar of David R Henderson David R Henderson
    22. September 2018 at 13:33

    Interesting thoughts, Scott.
    My favorite line: “Classical liberalism is my lodestar, an ideal that never needs replacement.”
    Lodestar, hmmm. Where have we seen that word recently? Are you NYT anonymous? :-)

  5. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. September 2018 at 15:00

    “Thus Nixon’s downfall is directly linked to the Watergate break-in, but Nixon was actually attacked for a wide range of abuses, involving domestic spying, war crimes in Southeast Asia, and lots of other stuff.”

    Nixon’s approval rating was 68% in February 1973 and was 60% that spring. When the Watergate story became well known by early May, his approval was at 50% and slid to 45% at the start of the Senate Hearings on May 18th. By late summer, Nixon’s approval had eroded to 35% and was at 25% on Oct 20th the Saturday night Massacre and hovered around 25% until August 1974 when he was impeached.

    The unemployment rate was 5% from January 1973 until he resigned in August 1974 so that was not a factor. Nixon’s falling popularity was almost entirely due to Watergate. (War crimes in South East Asia were criticized by a relatively small part of the population.)

  6. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. September 2018 at 15:25

    “I expect the eventual downfall of Trump to unleash a huge wave of political correctness across the country.”

    Nah.

    According to a Pew poll conducted in July 2016, 39% said people should be more careful with language to avoid offending people while 59% said “Too many people are offended by language these days” with 68% of independents agreeing.

    The 61% of Democrats who say people should watch their speech more may become even more vocal but a “huge wave” shift seems quite unlikely.

  7. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    22. September 2018 at 16:14

    I am less sanguine about a “huge wave of political correctness” for two reasons.
    (1) the inclinations involved are clearly quite totalitarian and getting more so.
    (2) there are a lot of institutional nodes (diversity units, HR departments, etc) which can and are being local enforcers.

  8. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. September 2018 at 16:26

    “(2) there are a lot of institutional nodes (diversity units, HR departments, etc) which can and are being local enforcers.”

    But since universities and companies already have that culture, how can they become even more enforcing?

  9. Gravatar of BC BC
    22. September 2018 at 16:29

    “I expect the eventual downfall of Trump to unleash a huge wave of political correctness across the country.”

    Political correctness pre-dates Trump. Trump is actually the backlash to political correctness and, yes, it’s been overreach. You are correct that some of PC’s biggest victims are actually quite progressive, but also harbor some classical liberal thoughts and thus are not progressive enough for SJWs. Similarly, some of the Trumpista’s most angry vile is directed towards anti-PC never-Trump conservatives.

    There is a generational aspect, but not necessarily the one you mention. Haidt and Lukianoff associate the current PC craziness to the generation born after 1995, what they call the iGeneration, which is different from Millennials. That generation grew up with social media, which Haidt and Lukianoff suspect may have contributed to that generation’s exaggerated hypersensitivities and anxieties. Here’s an explanation of it: [https://medium.com/@rzadek/trigger-warning-jonathan-haidt-on-the-coddling-of-the-american-mind-6c71014d28b6].

  10. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    22. September 2018 at 17:07

    Old fogies unite!

    I remain puzzled by many recent events, but the ending of the Harvard soccer team year, and this new entertainment around Judge Kavanaugh are two events that stand out.

    For those unfamiliar, the male Harvard soccer team had a private ritual of rating the pulchritude of the female Harvard soccer team. A female administrator found out about this gross transgression, and ended the Harvard male soccer team’s year.
    And you thought the stereotype of a martinet was a small man?

    The Kavanaugh circus is fresh and needs no explanation.

    Well, the midterms are not far away. Some are fretting that the Kavanaugh Gong Show will hurt the GOP. I wonder if the “secret voter” effect will take place. That is, some people will tell pollsters one thing and then voted different Way.

    PS: I think Kavanaugh is a smarmy GOP hack who believes in the authority of government to keep secrets.

  11. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    22. September 2018 at 17:22

    So the New York Review of Books should not have published Ghomeshi’s piece. Should anybody have published it? If so, who?

  12. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    22. September 2018 at 17:25

    Trump is “enmeshed in an American constitutional system that gives him relatively little power.” Yes, that is a blessing. But it would be even better if he had *still less* power: it’s too bad the American President has as much power as he has. My hope–probably too optimistic–is that the Trump phenomenon will lead to a curtailment of Presidential power.

  13. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    22. September 2018 at 17:43

    Interesting post, Scott. I don’t follow US politics, but what you say about the generations resonates. I think some of the main difference in gender and race sensitivities appear at around 50 years old rather than the 40 suggested by Buruma. In Australia, at least, that seems to mark the point where high school retention (graduation) rates increased from around one-third in 1983 to over 80% by 1989. Most all of those graduates would not have gone on to higher education, but I think even sitting in the same classes with young women through puberty might have had an influence.

    Being a male of Indian background, I notice racial things more than gender. When I was a teenager, it was not unusual for me to be called the N-word by random kids. That seemed to change after about 1990 and it’s now got to the point where I find younger people of ethnic backgrounds seem to take great offence at far less. But Australia has also experienced a second-wave transferred form of race sensitivity from the United States. The first I noticed this was when Harry Connick Jnr was a judge on a humourous talent segment of a variety TV show in 2009 and he took offence at some young guys wearing makeup to look like the Jackson 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VPWXJJF3hg

    More recently, we have witnessed the furore over Australian cartoonist Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams: https://www.tennisworldusa.org/imgb/64934/mark-knight-the-cartoon-about-serena-williams-is-not-about-race.jpg

    I can see how the cartoon could have been done a little differently, perhaps to focus less on stereotypical features, but I’m not sure that would have made much difference to what followed. Not sure if you wish to comment on that.

  14. Gravatar of Kgaard Kgaard
    22. September 2018 at 18:12

    Hi Scott … If there is a backlash led by the PC types, the result will be a hot civil war. The one flaw in the analysis above is in overlooking the role of scientific advances over the past few decades. The vast majority of what is considered PC is scientifically incorrect. (That’s why they had to invent PC — because the science was not going to support the positions otherwise.) With the internet, all the scientific distortions of the 20th century are being revealed. The right understands this. The forces that put Trump in office are similar to the forces that made gay marriage possible: The science changed, and people adapted to the best science.

    You might have a read of the blogger known as “Jim” on the concept of holiness spirals. I agree that if the Dems come into power in 2020 or whatever there is going to be a massive retaliation by the left.

  15. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    22. September 2018 at 18:26

    @BC

    It’s not GenZ that is responsible for the tidal wave of anti-white and anti-men hatred, it’s Generation X, Boomers, and some older millennials. What you have to look at is institutional power. Generation Z has none. Therefore, it is the acted upon here, not the central actors.

    You are, of course, correct that political correctness on a mass scale predates Trump by at least a couple years, and that Trump was, in some respects, a reaction to that.

    some of the Trumpista’s most angry vile is directed towards anti-PC never-Trump conservatives.

    That’s just false. Almost all never Trump conservatives who get Trumpista bile are very, very pro-PC.

    But since universities and companies already have that culture, how can they become even more enforcing?

    The commanding heights of economic power have only just started enforcing.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. September 2018 at 18:55

    David, Ssssh, don’t tell anyone.

    Todd, I was not thinking about his popularity, rather the aspects of his regime that bothered liberal Democrats. There was definitely a backlash against things like the domestic spying, the secret war in Cambodia and Laos, etc. But yes, Watergate was the key factor.

    And the economy was in bad shape during 1974—high inflation, gas lines, etc.

    BC, I know there’s already a lot of PCism. I’m saying it will get much more extreme after Trump falls.

    Philo, I got part way through the essay and gave up–I found it boring. People should certainly be free to publish it, but one doing so should expect controversy.

    I agree about presidential power.

    Rajat, I agree that American views on race are spreading to other Western countries. I think that’s mostly good, although there is occasional overreach. (I.e. the “cultural appropriation” stuff)

  17. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. September 2018 at 22:43

    Scott, you know full well that the strength of the economy is not based on how long gas lines are.

    Jan 1973 to Aug 1974: Unemployment was 5% the entire time, near full employment. GDP for those quarters from Jan 1973 was to when Nixon’s approval dropped to 25% in Oct 1973 was 7.6%, 6.3%, and 4.6%, with 4.0% after that. So an average of 6% growth as Nixons’s approval fell from 68% to 25%.

    Inflation went from 3.4% to 7.4% during that period, which to the electorate was trivial.

    Anyway, you can’t say the economy was in bad shape with 6% growth and 5% unemployment. Well, you *can* say that but 99% of economists will disagree.

  18. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    22. September 2018 at 23:02

    ‘Thus the McCarthy era persecution of the Rosenbergs was justified, whereas the attacks on the Hollywood screenwriters were not.’

    Why not, they were guilty as charged (secretly inserting pro-Stalin lines in their movie scripts). Even George Clooney has admitted it was true. One of the Hollywood Ten, John Howard Lawson even wrote an instructional manual for screenwriters on how they could get away with propagandizing for Communism;

    https://www.amazon.com/Film-Battle-Ideas-Howard-Lawson/dp/1258496674/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537686050&sr=1-3&keywords=john+howard+lawson&dpID=31f2r14mVxL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. September 2018 at 07:01

    Todd, You said:

    “Inflation went from 3.4% to 7.4% during that period, which to the electorate was trivial.”

    Is that a joke?

    You said: “Anyway, you can’t say the economy was in bad shape with 6% growth and 5% unemployment.”

    No, but I can say you are lying. Growth was negative in the first three quarters of 1974, not even close to 6%.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. September 2018 at 07:01

    Patrick, Stalin was our ally during WWII.

  21. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    23. September 2018 at 09:23

    It’s really quite impressive how completely disconnected from reality some people are.

    If prof Sumner is what passes for a level-headed academic, I say we burn down the universities. It would be a radical improvement.

  22. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. September 2018 at 10:07

    Rob, I find it tough to disagree.

  23. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    23. September 2018 at 10:28

    Scott,

    No, I was not lying but made a typo by writing 1974 there when I should have written 1973. You said the economy was bad in 1974 but of course that was completely irrelevant to Nixon’s slide into the abyss since everything important happened in 1973 when the economy was strong.

    Jan to Mar 1973: real annual GDP up 7.6%, unemployment 4.9%, inflation 4.5% Nixon’s popularity at over 60%. That is huge.

    April to May 1973: real annual GDP up 6.3%, unemployment 4.9%, inflation 5.0%. Nixon’s popularity falls to 43% just before the Senate Watergate hearings. Americans didn’t suddenly disapprove of Nixon at Trump levels because inflation went from 4.5% to 5.0%, right?

    June to August 1973: real annual GDP up 4.8%, unemployment 4.8%. inflation at 7.0%. Nixon’s popularity fall further to 35%. Nixon was toast at this point while the economy was very strong.

    Sep to Nov: real annual GDP up 4%, unemployment 4.7%, inflation at 7%. Nixon’s populaity further eroded to 30% and then a low of 25% right after the Saturday Nigh Masaccre in October.

    Nixon’s popularity stayed at the basement level of 25% until he resigned in August 1974.

    Also, the left that protested Nixon’ actions in SE Asia never supported Nixon in the first place so that group wasn’t affecting his slide from 68% approval to 25% approval over nine months.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth-annual

  24. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. September 2018 at 10:53

    @Todd

    wasn’t affecting his slide from 68% approval to 25% approval over nine months.

    25% approval rating you say? That’s the approval rating of “Jupiter” himself right now, Scott’s favorite in France. Mainstream media says his approval ratings are even worse than the ones of Hollande.

  25. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. September 2018 at 10:55

    Scott,

    at least your piece is more thoughtful than the one of Applegate but that isn’t hard, now, is it?

    In the post-Trump era, I’ll cheer the attacks on Trump officials who did abuse government power

    Yes, I’ll bet you make a great cheerleader but what about precise evidence right here and now, for a change, instead of conspiracy theories and rumors?

    But there will come a day where the biggest threat will be left-wing PCism run amuck, and when that occurs I’ll focus my attacks on that group.

    Why would you talk about a completely uncertain future? The Dreyfuss affair is happening right here and now, not somewhere, sometime in the future. You act like you know the future but as anybody else you absolutely don’t.

    Don’t brag so much who and what you will attack in the future, you can promise anything right now, nobody can verify or falsify those empty shells.

  26. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    23. September 2018 at 11:27

    Here is a graph of Nixon’s approval rating from January 1973 until August 1974.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/08/how-the-watergate-crisis-eroded-public-support-for-richard-nixon/

  27. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. September 2018 at 15:30

    I always thought Trump’s approval ratings were bad but Republicans seem to love him, he’s even unusually stable there and stays around 84%. I never thought it would be 84%, I expected 64% to 44%. He’s completely in line with all the other Republican Presidents (amongst GOP voters).

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/01/trumps-approval-ratings-so-far-are-unusually-stable-and-deeply-partisan/ft_18-08-01_trumpapproval_more-polarized/

  28. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    23. September 2018 at 17:43

    Yes, Trump is a very conventional Republican in the sense that most Republican voters have long been fascists. Roughly 20-30% of Republicans were not fascists, and many of them are no longer Republicans. Perhaps roughly half of the non-fascist Republicans have left the party. They’re typically as disgusted with Trump as Democrats and are decent people with whom we can have a nice republic.

    I welcome the backlash that will push the fascists back into the closet.

  29. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    23. September 2018 at 17:50

    By the way, it’s looking increasingly likely that Kavanaugh will be soon fighting to preserve his current job, rather than his nomination.

  30. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    23. September 2018 at 18:27

    Michael Sandifer,

    push the fascists back into the closet

    Kinda hard to do that with you hogging all the space

  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. September 2018 at 21:19

    Christian, You said:

    “Scott’s favorite in France.”

    Can you get any dumber?

  32. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    24. September 2018 at 06:29

    “You tell me it’s the institution
    well, you know
    You better free your mind instead.”

    – Dead White Guy, 1966

    Hippies collected and dispensed plenty of woolly stupidity along the way too.

    If “get off my lawn” is the eternal anthem of the comfortable curmudgeon, “Don’t give me no hand me down world, I got one already” is the eternal whine of privileged youth.

    All things must pass indeed.

  33. Gravatar of Ryan Ryan
    24. September 2018 at 06:47

    How do you determine the start and end points of your model? Trump has been considered a reaction to PC, which I find more plausible given that PC predates him.

    To be completely honest I’ve been getting the feeling that PC is starting to fizzle. For example its now possible to say “I think political correctness can go too far” and 90% of the population will nod along, something that was absolutely not true a year ago. The Kavanaugh circus is a perfect example of the kind of behavior that degrades confidence in PC.

    The authoritarian left has also begun aggressively attacking their allies because in-groups are the only ones still willing to comply with their demands. I think tech in particular is getting pushed to the right.

  34. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. September 2018 at 06:56

    Ryan, I see PCism picking up strength. I don’t think Kavanaugh is accused of not being politically correct. People worry he’s too conservative, or perhaps harasses women.

  35. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    24. September 2018 at 08:56

    I agree with Ryan. It’s not 90% who nod their head now (especially not compared to a year ago) but he gets the chronology right, which isn’t rocket science. First PCism, then Trump, and what comes after that, no one knows.

    Can you get any dumber?

    Scott, please don’t be offened so easily. He was your favorite (given the other choices), and he was mine. I really don’t get what makes you so upset about this little swipe.

    I’m shocked that his ratings are falling so fast. I mean his policy isn’t that bad, in fact his neoliberal strain is good. People are really irrational and Europe is out of control.

    I mean the French just completetly destroyed their two-party-system, then they elected Jupiter but they still aren’t happy at all. And like in other states they demand a policy that is self-contradictory, which is hard to achieve, even for Jupiter. Compared to them, the plebs of Rome appear modest.

  36. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    24. September 2018 at 09:55

    ‘Patrick, Stalin was our ally during WWII.’

    Now there’s a comeback for the ages!

    For the historical illiterates in the audience, Stalin was originally Hitler’s ally. In August of 1939 they joined together to start WWII in the following month when both invaded Poland. It wasn’t until June of 1941, when Hitler turned on Stalin that he became ‘our ally.’ By 1946 it had become obvious how foolish we had been to do that. Witness Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech.

    Again, for the illiterates (and semi-illiterates), the Hollywood Ten were pro-Stalin long before June 1941, and didn’t abandon that enthusiasm after 1946. Don’t believe me? Read the facts from one of The Ten himself, Edward Dmytryk;

    https://www.amazon.com/Odd-Man-Out-Memoir-Holllywood/dp/0809319993

  37. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    24. September 2018 at 11:16

    For the historical illiterates in the audience, Stalin was originally Hitler’s ally.

    That’s just a lie.

    In August of 1939 they joined together to start WWII in the following month when both invaded Poland.

    That’s also a lie.

  38. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    24. September 2018 at 12:44

    Putin lover and Fake News God Harding is the new history expert, I guess.

    But one can easily look it up:

    On 17 September 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east, sixteen days after Germany invaded Poland from the west. The joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland was secretly agreed to following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August 1939. A Soviet campaign of political murders and other forms of repression, targeting Polish figures of authority such as military officers, police and priests, began with a wave of arrests and summary executions. The Soviet NKVD sent hundreds of thousands of people from eastern Poland to Siberia and other remote parts of the Soviet Union in four major waves of deportation between 1939 and 1941.

  39. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    24. September 2018 at 13:11

    Yes, Christian. There was a reason I mentioned historical illiterates.

    Btw, the Screen Writers Guild was founded in 1933. Shortly thereafter the Communists managed to take it over and name John Howard Lawson as its head. He’d been specifically sent out to Hollywood from New York (he was a playwright) by the CPUSA for that purpose. Also to create a ‘blacklist’ of non-Communists who were to be kept from working by Lawson and his henchmen.

    All well before the USA became allied with Stalin.

  40. Gravatar of Bob Murphy Bob Murphy
    24. September 2018 at 14:17

    Brian Donohue, I will tolerate a lot on this blog, but your mocking of ’60s classic rock will not stand!

  41. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. September 2018 at 16:00

    Christian, You said:

    “He was your favorite (given the other choices), and he was mine.”

    Then you should have said he was your favorite, not mine. Why is your favorite so unpopular?

  42. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    24. September 2018 at 19:41

    Christian List,

    “I mean the French just completetly destroyed their two-party-system, then they elected Jupiter but they still aren’t happy at all. And like in other states they demand a policy that is self-contradictory, which is hard to achieve, even for Jupiter. Compared to them, the plebs of Rome appear modest.”

    For once we completely agree. And this is why your average democratic country is a republic, not a pure democracy, not the least because the “will of the people” can’t be reasonably aggregated (we know this since de Condorcet and later sharpened by Arrow). Governments should of course be elected democratically, but democratic institutions should be representative and run by a professional elite. Policies should mostly not be directly decided by referendums, and if they are, such decisions should stand to a far higher standard than 50% of the votes counted. We should strive for the rule of law, not some unhinged populism. This means, no one is above the law, not even “the people”.

    What makes countries livable is rule-based order. Most people know this instinctively, but unfortunately this pushes many to embrace the illusory certainties of authoritarianism instead of the proper way to implement it, i.e. the rule of law.

  43. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    24. September 2018 at 21:26

    Christian, Patrick, Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source. Look at contemporary British and French reactions. They didn’t declare war on the Soviet Union. Nor did they call for the USSR’s expulsion from the League of Nations. They would have if it really did invade Poland.

    BTW Poland really did invade Czechoslovakia.

    Governments should of course be elected democratically, but democratic institutions should be representative and run by a professional elite.

    Nah. The more direct the democracy, the better. Policies should almost entirely be decided by referendums, and decisions should stand to a standard of 50% of the votes counted. Why should unelected dictators (“judges”) or elected (corrupt) politicians be better guarantors of the rule of law than the people themselves?

    All sovereigns are above their own laws. Read your Hobbes. I’d rather the people be sovereign.

    of the proper way to implement it, i.e. the rule of law.

    Representative democracy is not “the rule of law”; any form of government can have elements of the rule of law.

  44. Gravatar of Willy2 Willy2
    24. September 2018 at 23:39

    -Off Topic: Australia’s housing crash is now in it’s first stage.

    Watch the videos:
    http://digitalfinanceanalytics.com/blog/60-minutes-the-debt-bomb-that-no-one-wants-to-talk-about/

    @S.Sumner: Still believing there is/was no bubble in Australia ?

  45. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    25. September 2018 at 02:45

    It’s humorous to see Trump supporters criticizing others, but then if they had any wisdom or class then they wouldn’t be Trump supporters.

  46. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    25. September 2018 at 04:50

    mbka,

    Governments should of course be elected democratically, but democratic institutions should be representative and run by a professional elite. Policies should mostly not be directly decided by referendums, and if they are, such decisions should stand to a far higher standard than 50% of the votes counted. We should strive for the rule of law, not some unhinged populism.

    Lotsa “should” there. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was some sort of statement of faith.

    What makes countries livable is rule-based order.

    Even the most primitive tribe has some sort of law.

    Not that I expect any sort of coherent answer. Just more regurgitating of the current year conventional wisdom. Can’t expect more from an NPC.

  47. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    25. September 2018 at 06:34

    ‘Christian, Patrick, Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source. Look at contemporary British and French reactions. They didn’t declare war on the Soviet Union. ‘

    Are you denying that the USSR invaded Poland in September 1939? How about Finland in November of that same year?

  48. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    25. September 2018 at 07:22

    E. Harding’s apparent rejection of historical fact is amusing, in that the pro-Stalinist Hollywood stars accepted the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact when it actually happened. Under the direction of the notorious Otto Katz (who was later enshrined as Victor Lazlo in ‘Casablanca’ and Mueller in ‘Watch On the Rhine’) in 1936, The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League was formed to promote resistance to fascism (sound familiar?).

    When Hitler and Stalin allied themselves, the League changed its name, and its political enthusiasms, to the Hollywood League for Democratic Action. Gone were the calls for boycotts of Germany. In its place were calls for pacifism. Dalton Trumbo wrote his infamous ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ as a service to Stalin. Later, when Hitler invaded Russia, he had all unsold copies of it called in from bookstores. When some poor dupe wrote him asking how he could get a copy of it, during WWII, Trumbo turned over the letter to the FBI!

  49. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. September 2018 at 07:41

    When Hitler and Stalin allied themselves

    A non-aggression pact is not an alliance.

  50. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. September 2018 at 07:43

    Are you denying that the USSR invaded Poland in September 1939?

    Yes.

    How about Finland in November of that same year?

    The invasion of Finland did occur (and was successful at achieving its primary aims). The League of Nations did expel the USSR for it.

  51. Gravatar of Patrick R Sullivan Patrick R Sullivan
    25. September 2018 at 08:35

    From the September 24, 1939 New York Times:

    ————-quote————
    Fighting Fronts
    The East

    At 4 o’clock last Sunday morning Russian Troops–they had been massing for some time–were ordered across the frontier into Eastern Poland. Overhead droned Russian planes. Tanks rumbled along the roads of the Polish plain. The Soviet Union, signatory with Germany of a non-aggression pact believed to provide for a fourth Polish partition, was about to give the coup de grace to the already mortally wounded Polish Republic.

    The invaders met little resistance, for the Polish Army, what remained of it, was fighting the German forces that in little more than a fortnight had overrun most of Western Poland and rolled up to the gates of Warsaw. The marching Russians were on familiar ground. ….
    ———–endquote————–

  52. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    25. September 2018 at 11:34

    Fake news, Patrick! The NY Times? Might as well quote Pravda.

  53. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    25. September 2018 at 11:35

    Willy2, If you keep predicting a price decline over and over again, then eventually you might be right. Please don’t stop now. Keep predicting a collapse.

  54. Gravatar of H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover) H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover)
    30. September 2018 at 08:06

    When CB have a little credit, sometimes markets recognize some integers expectation as singular (regular?) point. (ex. USD/JPY)

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