Bleeding heart conservatives

For years I’ve had a problem with bleeding heart liberals.  They tend to romanticize the plight of those on the bottom of society.  Of course the right made the opposite mistake of demonizing these groups.  The proper attitude is hard-headed utilitarian realism—neither victims nor villains.  Now I’m noticing a disturbing new trend in moral exhibitionism—bleeding heart conservatives.

This new conservatism romanticizes the white working class.  These conservatives used to mock bleeding heart liberals who claimed that minorities were “the victims of an unjust society”.  They pointed out that poor people often made poor life choices.  The new conservatives now claim that the white working class is not composed of people who made poor life choices—i.e., not studying hard in school or choosing to use opioids—but rather they are the “victims of neoliberal economic policies”.  (Somehow they overlook the fact that the working class in countries that did not embrace neoliberal policies is doing even worse—logic is not their strong point.)  The new bleeding heart conservatives engage in the same sort of romanticization of victims for which they used to mock the progressives.

I have an even lower opinion of bleeding heart conservatives than bleeding heart liberals.  At least the liberals have compassion for other ethnic groups.  Conservatives engage in the easiest form of compassion, which requires the least moral imagination, sympathy for one’s own ethnic group.

As a utilitarian I wish all groups well.  But I only have so much ability to sympathize with people I’ve never met.  Thus I focus most of my sympathy of those at the bottom, in places like eastern Congo and Aleppo.  America’s poor are pretty well off in global terms, and America’s working class is among the global elite (and in crude material terms is far better off than the working class when I was young.)  So while I support public policies that would help the American working class, it’s not high on my list of priorities.  I’m much more focused on how TPP could impact Vietnam’s peasants.

My greatest contempt is for those policy prostitutes that we call “politicians.”  People like Mike Pence, who had no empathy for the victims of heroin addiction until it hit the white working class in southern Indiana. Now Pence has abandoned his support for the free market:

. . . the free market has been sorting it out and America has been losing . . .

It seems that the opponents of the free market are now voting Republican, and the “leaders” of the GOP are giving up all their principles to become followers.

Commenters like to compare me to those campus snowflakes who need safe rooms.  Actually, I was mocking campus PC culture when many of them were still in diapers.  In fact they are often the real softies; they are the new bleeding hearts.  I’ll keep looking at the world in a hard-headed realistic way, in the hope that in the long run, reason will produce a more humane society than we’d get from demagoguery on either the right or the left.

PS.  I apologize for the “prostitute” slur; they are business people providing an honest service.  Comparing them to politicians was very unfair.

PPS.  Most of my commenters will fail to see the distinction that is very clear to Peter Suderman:

But the statement from Pence, who is the Trump administration’s closest link to conventional Republican politics, should be taken as a declaration of intent for the GOP as a political institution. Although Republicans have frequently and sometimes flagrantly acted in opposition to basic free market principles, the party has typically maintained a surface pretense of adhering to a pro-market understanding of the world. The GOP wasn’t exactly a free-market party, but it often pretended to be.

Even President George W. Bush, when announcing his administration’s response to the financial crisis, framed his lack of orthodoxy as an exception necessary to uphold the larger idea, saying that he has “abandoned free-market principles to save the free market system.” Even a break from free-market ideas had to be framed as a defense of free-market philosophy.

In announcing the Carrier deal, Pence has made it clear that the party has abandoned free-market principles, period. Under Trump, the GOP has dropped the pretense.

PPPS.  Tyler linked to an article discussing 99 positive trends in the world today.  Here’s one:

30. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%. Vox

Even if all of the problems wrongly attributed to neoliberalism were true, it would still be a huge boon to humanity on this fact alone.

 


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41 Responses to “Bleeding heart conservatives”

  1. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    30. December 2016 at 16:35

    “Thus I focus most of my sympathy of those at the bottom, in places like eastern Congo and Aleppo.”

    -Classic leapfrogging loyalties.

    “It seems that the opponents of the free market are now voting Republican”

    -Also, supporters of marijuana legalization. The GOP was much more the “party of pain” in 2012 than it is today. Thanks, Trump!:

    https://twitter.com/neipate96/status/812373786599321600

    BTW, Romney was no fan of the free market; he was just an elitist. All friends of the free market continue to remain solidly outside the Dem party and, in Congress, within the GOP. I’ve never cared much for lying about one’s support for free-market principles. And Pence was one of the better supporters of these principles in Congress, opposing the bank bailouts (unlike Trump and Rmoney).

  2. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    30. December 2016 at 16:39

    And, yes, Trump has caused very rapid pro-Putin and protectionist surges within the GOP. One is good, the latter is not.

  3. Gravatar of Kevin Erdmann Kevin Erdmann
    30. December 2016 at 16:47

    Sadly, it seems that the one way Conservatives think they are still free marketers is that they demanded liquidationism from 2006 to 2008 (actually they really never stopped) so the financial sector and working class balance sheets collapsed. Because that’ll keep us disciplined!

  4. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    30. December 2016 at 17:01

    BTW, comment of the year:

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=31986#comment-1207179

    “might be the stupidest comment of the year”:

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=31934#comment-1160406

  5. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    30. December 2016 at 17:05

    When was the GOP for free markets?

    Rural America is 100% subsidized, everything from roads to power systems to water systems, to rail service to airports to mail service to phone service to internet service to medical facilities to basic industries. Add a gigantic mandated and subsidized fuel-ethanol permanent boondoggle to the mix.

    Imagine the GOP reaction if the federal government mandated ethanol use and subsidized its production from urban wastes in city-center factories.

    The VA is a communist healthcare plan for former federal employees. Sacred too.

    Egads.

    Yet these aspects are almost the pleasant parts of the GOP, which is often otherwise defined by warmongers and plutocrats or religious nuts.

    The Donks are an option, but not much of one.

    Trump is interesting and we will have to see what he does.

  6. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    30. December 2016 at 17:13

    “When was the GOP for free markets?”

    -1964??? GOP was NOT popular then!

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. December 2016 at 18:03

    Ben, You said:

    “When was the GOP for free markets?”

    Did you read the post?

  8. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    30. December 2016 at 18:27

    I think your focus groups are just different. As you found out correctly Pence is an American politician. He has the obligation to represent his voters and their will. That’s his job.

    You didn’t even vote for him so it’s not surprising that he does not represent your will. Unlike you he also should not focus on peasants from Vietnam or Congo too much, his first obligation is to focus on his voters. The GOP focussing more on their middle class voters and less on people like you and me is not the worst thing I can imagine.

  9. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    30. December 2016 at 22:11

    This is an illustration of something Larry Summers sometimes says. Something that seems inevitable takes longer to begin than one would think, but then occurs faster than one expects. I was surprised the consensus for free trade lasted as long as it did, given the Great Recession and slow recovery. And while polls indicate most Americans still support immigration and free trade, that support is apparently much wider than it is deep.

    I can’t help, but think that liberal criticisms of Republican opportunism, hidden by ideology were long correct, but for how long, I don’t know for sure. It seems that it’s been the case at least since W. Bush took office, but perhaps sooner.

    So, which party will stand up for free markets now? It seems Democrats are also moving away from support for free markets, at least relatively.

    Inthink it’s very bad that Democrats have simply allowed Republicans to be so obstructionist, even surrendering a Supreme Court nomination. But, is anyone surprised Democrats are so cowardly and dumb?

  10. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    30. December 2016 at 22:21

    Prof. Sumner,

    Exclusive of the factors you cited, couldn’t a wave of surprise technological breakthroughs out of the blue raise RGDP growth rates significantly for a decade or two?

  11. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    30. December 2016 at 23:45

    Sumner, you write of your concerns about Pence’s statements on the free market.

    As you asked Ray in a precious post:

    When was this free market you speak of?

    Oops.

  12. Gravatar of Riccardo Riccardo
    30. December 2016 at 23:49

    Scott, I want you to know how valuable your writing is to me. I read you almost exclusively on a RSS feed reader, which means I never see your commenters unless I leave my reader and go to your website (which I only rarely do). But from what you write it sounds like you are beset lately by a lot of people who disagree with you, or even actively dislike you (so why are they even bothering to spend time leaving comments?). So in chance case balance in comments helps encourage you to keep on keeping on (doubtful) let me say that I value your writing (even when I don’t agree, and despite rarely commenting).

  13. Gravatar of Sina Motamedi Sina Motamedi
    31. December 2016 at 00:29

    +1 for Riccardo’s comment

  14. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    31. December 2016 at 01:12

    Scott,
    The problem you have distinguishing between prostitutes and politicians is that you believe it when a politician says they love you.

    As for Carrier, $7MM in incentives for 800 jobs is dirt cheap. In terms of incentives, it’s probably the closest thing to a free market deal for a manufacturing facility in the mid-west since the Reagan era. Normally you’d get $7MM for something like 150 jobs.

  15. Gravatar of Joel Fagin Joel Fagin
    31. December 2016 at 05:28

    Scott,

    Agree with most of this, but your contempt for politicians is misplaced.

    We live in a representative republic. Pence and other politicians’ job is to attract voters. Largely by representing – through rhetoric and policy – the existing views of a majority of their constituents.

    If they are doing the wrong thing, the problem is with an electorate that rewards them for doing so.

    What you call “policy prostitution” or “pandering” is actually implementing the will of the voters. That’s a healthy system.

    To paraphrase Milton Friedman, rather than electing the “right people”, we should work to create an environment where it’s politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. December 2016 at 06:52

    Christian, You said:

    “Unlike you he also should not focus on peasants from Vietnam or Congo too much”

    What does this have to do with my post? Perhaps you have a problem with reading comprehension?

    TravisV, Possible, but seems rather unlikely to me.

    Thanks Riccardo and Sina.

    dtoh, You said:

    “As for Carrier, $7MM in incentives for 800 jobs is dirt cheap. In terms of incentives, it’s probably the closest thing to a free market deal for a manufacturing facility in the mid-west since the Reagan era.”

    Not at all, You are missing the indirect effects. This will encourage other firms to locate new plants in Mexico, not the US. The US has become a less desirable place to invest because of Trump. A Mexican plant can later be moved elsewhere if needed. A US plant will face the wrath of Trump if it tries to move. See my post encouraging CEOs to invest elsewhere because of Trump.

    And no, the 800 jobs did not stay in the US because of a tiny tax break, that was just a fig leaf. Their CEO even basically admitted (implied) it was fear of a loss of future defense contracts.

    Joel, You said:

    “To paraphrase Milton Friedman, rather than electing the “right people”, we should work to create an environment where it’s politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

    That’s also my view. I just use more colorful language (“Prostitute”, instead of “wrong people”)

  17. Gravatar of Dtoh Dtoh
    31. December 2016 at 08:07

    Scott,
    So you think putting political pressures on companies to locate in a specific location is a new thing? Or nude Republican? Seriously?

  18. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    31. December 2016 at 08:49

    Bad dictation.

    nude > new to

  19. Gravatar of Bob Murphy Bob Murphy
    31. December 2016 at 09:27

    Scott,

    I am asking a genuine question, not “throwing down the gauntlet” or anything like that. In this post you are claiming that today’s conservatives and GOP suddenly care about working class voters, but only if they’re white. Can you give me a single example of what you mean? Or is it “C’mon Bob, they can’t openly say that, but read between the lines” kind of stuff?

  20. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    31. December 2016 at 10:09

    Bob, blacks use drugs – criminal problem, let’s target the drugs they use and lock them up. Whits use drugs – opioid crisis, public health problem. Dog whistle and more overt racism, such as Trump’s false claim about which race is killing which.

    The GOP does not actually care about the white working class. It needs their votes in order to reorder things more in favor of the GOP donor class.

  21. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    31. December 2016 at 10:33

    @foosion: EXACTLY. So far all the signals are that Trump is going to be a typical business Republican: cut taxes, deregulate, increase defense spending, privatize. His working class hero stuff was mostly talk, and kudos to him for selling it. But does anyone really think that elitist billionaire gold-plated New Yorker germophobe gives a rat’s ass about the working class yahoos in Wisconsin?

  22. Gravatar of engineer engineer
    31. December 2016 at 15:40

    Rural America is 100% subsidized, everything from roads to power systems to water systems, to rail service to airports to mail service to phone service to internet service to medical facilities to basic industries.

    -Then you build a house in the country…it costs a lot of money, I know from experience. It costs at least $10K to hook up to the power line, add in another $10K for a septic and $10K for a well, add thousands per year to power with propane/fuel oil/wood. Internet is via satellite, no subsidy there..if you are lucky you may get DSL.
    Mail service is subsidized for all Americans, Fedex/UPS is not subsidized. Most smaller airports are no more subsized than larger ones, they are part of the hub and spoke system. Many small airports are subsidized by the FAA for safety reasons, to have locations for emergency landings. Rail service? you are kidding right. I don’t recall trailways/greyhound getting subsidies for rural service.

    “Imagine the GOP reaction if the federal government mandated ethanol use and subsidized its production from urban wastes in city-center factories.”

    – Farming is still closer to pure capitalism that most industries I can think of. As such, it is very susceptible to price fluctuations. In order to enhance the stability of the food supply, our government has long established price stability measures. The policy benefits urban customers as much as farmers. Ethanol is an extension of this that started as a national security measure to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and as a substitute for MTBE. It’s usefulness is doubtful and should be reduced, but at this point reducing the corn production is going to be painful and will raise the subsidy level considerably.

    The VA is a communist healthcare plan for former federal employees. Sacred too.

    The only proposals that I am aware of to change the VA is from the republican side, including giving veterans the ability to go anywhere. I remember Krugman holding it up the VA as an example of how great government healthcare could be (that was before the scandals). It is only sacred because of the desire to give our veterans good medical service.

  23. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    31. December 2016 at 17:11

    Engineer–There is extensive federal subsidization or cross-subsidization in all the categories I mention.

    The characterization of the US agriculture industry as free enterprise strikes me as grossly inaccurate. BTW about 30% to 40% of US corn production is devoted to ethanol. About 10% every gallon of gasoline sold in the US is ethanol.

    But ethanol is like property zoning: The real issue is the minimum wage.

    Scott Sumner: my comment, “When was the GOP for free enterprise?” is more directed to the commentary of Peter Suderman that you cite.

  24. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    31. December 2016 at 17:59

    You can have this one sentence if it troubles you so much.

  25. Gravatar of Engineer Engineer
    31. December 2016 at 18:22

    To my knowledge there was only one candidate (R or D) that campaigned on getting rid of the Ethanol mandate. That was Ted Cruz, and he won Iowa.

  26. Gravatar of Engineer Engineer
    31. December 2016 at 18:33

    BTW, less than 10% of the corn is ingested by humans…And 0% of the trees grown by tree farmers are ingested by humans…So what is your point?

  27. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    31. December 2016 at 21:34

    “In announcing the Carrier deal, Pence has made it clear that the party has abandoned free-market principles, period.”

    $7 million in state tax benefits vs the $7 billion per year already being paid to Carrier’s parent company in government contracts is not proof of anything. That’s silly.

    “Thus I focus most of my sympathy of those at the bottom, in places like eastern Congo and Aleppo.”

    So Sumner is a bleeding heart, he just favors a different racial/religious demographic.

    “America’s poor are pretty well off in global terms, and America’s working class is among the global elite (and in crude material terms is far better off than the working class when I was young.)”

    This is true. People in great nations like Japan/US/Israel/England have privileges + opportunities denied to those in terrible countries. People with higher incomes, education credentials, social rank are privileged in relation to those with low income/credentials/social rank. People with high birth rates are in some ways more privileged elite next to those with low birth rate. Children born to stable, loving, nurturing families have lots of privilege that they didn’t at all earn and people born to abusive/neglectful/absentee parents have huge disadvantages that they aren’t individually responsible for. People who have not fallen into vats of acid are privileged elite next to those that have fallen into vats of acid.

    Sumner has chosen a set of demographic loyalties and a system of morality around these facts that seem arbitrary and questionable and outside of his technical expertise in economics.

  28. Gravatar of Larry Larry
    31. December 2016 at 22:19

    While the last thing we need is to anoint a new class of victims, a little empathy is in order. Hillbilly Elegy is the go to read on what is happening in the white working class.

    Drug abuse in traditionally poor populations is not novel. It is novel in working class (and veteran) groups. We must ask why. Is it the general breakdown of mainstream American culture? Automation?

  29. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    31. December 2016 at 22:35

    Non opioid users with high status education credentials are the privileged elite compared to the opioid users with few education credentials. Groups who didn’t wage war with Bashar Assad and allies are privileged elite next to the Syrian groups that did wage war against Assad. Sumner blames one group for their plight and sympathizes with the other.

  30. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    31. December 2016 at 23:39

    Engineer:

    My point is that GOP’ers in Congress and George Bush jr. (“I am an ethanol person”) were the major powers behind the large expansion of the federally mandated subsidized fuel ethanol program.

    The Donks were more like unindicted co-conspirators.

    By federal ukase, about 10% of every gallon sold in America is ethanol. This edict from DC results in 30% to 40% of US corn acreage in production. That is not the definition of a free-enterprise industry (your contention of an accurate description of agriculture). In fact, corn farming is something of a pink-o industry, given the acreages involved in ethanol.

    We have not even gotten to other subsidies for corn yet! And please do not mention crop insurance.

    I am happy that free markets (if there are any in agriculture) result in large fractions of corn being eaten by livestock. I would be happy if ethanol stood on its two feet as a fuel. That is not the case.

    The Dems are not better, if you are concluding I am Donk. I am not. Donks are just a different shade of grey.

    From http://farmpolicy.com/2007/01/24/president-bush-on-renewable-fuel/

    The Times explained that, “The centerpiece of Mr. Bush’s proposal, which he said would cut the projected use of gasoline by 20 percent over the next decade, was a nearly fivefold mandatory increase in the production of ethanol and other alternative fuels for cars and trucks. The most obvious beneficiaries would be makers of ethanol and other biofuels, but it could also promote the production of liquefied coal.

    “Mr. Bush called for a mandatory requirement that makers of fuel produce 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels a year by 2017, replacing about 15 percent of the projected gasoline use in that year.

    “A second major plank of Mr. Bush’s energy proposal calls for increasing fuel-efficiency standards of cars and trucks by 4 percent a year — about one mile per gallon — starting in 2010 for cars and 2012 for trucks.”

    Near the article’s conclusion, the reporters noted that, “But many cautioned that the goals would be difficult to attain, might do little to reduce gas emissions and could lead to higher food prices as farmers cater to energy demand rather than food production.”

    James R. Healey, writing in today’s USA Today, indicated that, “The energy portion of President Bush’s State of the Union speech Tuesday included some eye-popping numbers that would amount to a boon for the ethanol industry and could begin boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks as soon as 2009.”

    –30–

    As I said, what do you think would be the GOP reaction to a plan to convert urban wastes into ethanol, as federally mandated and subsidized by taxpayers and produced in urban factories, that you would be forced to use in your gasoline and vehicles?

    I can hear the howls now! “Runaway pink-o socialism! An outrage!” And the endless stories of lower MPG’s, of rotted fuel lines, or ambulances that did not get to their destination due to ethanol.

    Well, rest easy, Engineer. The topic is never extensive rural subsidies, corn-ethanol, or property zoning, or the ubiquitous criminalization of push-cart and truck-vending in the U.S. Or even the $30 to $40 trillion sloshing around in Cayman Island-style bank accounts.

    Those are topics for losers.

    The minimum wage is the winning topic. That more cheap imported labor is needed, is a topic. That multi-nationals need to source manufacturing offshore is an important topic.

    Did you notice the GOP tried to gut Trump a lot harder than the Donks did?

  31. Gravatar of engineer engineer
    1. January 2017 at 05:09

    OK, I’m not going to waste my New Years Day responding to each point in your rant…but..
    1) I do not support subsidies or mandates for Ethanol, and I have no doubt that corn Ethanol can survive without the blending mandate. There is currently no taxpayer subsidy of Ethanol, only a mandate. The 30-40% figure is misleading. Corn acreage is only up around 10% from the 1980s and that is still down around 10% from the 1930s. That is because ethanol production is like gasoline refining, a whole host of value added products are produced, ethanol only uses the sugar/starch. Cellulose ethanol is the future blending mandate to replace corn. It is much more expensive than corn ethanol and is the reason that many in the Ethanol industry would like to see the mandates removed all together.

    2) 95%+ of corn farmers are family farmers. Individual entrepreneurs just trying to make a living. The reason farming is a tough business is because it is what I learned in Econ 101 as pure competition. Producers have no control over prices or production, as such you are probably not going to get rich. The are no big government contracts only free tickets to Willie Nelsen concerts.

    3) Name a new energy source that has not been given heavy government subsidies at the beginning. Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Off-shore oil, etc…Wind subsidies are a big subsidy to the Red states as well…European power companies are buying up all the wood pellets in the country because it helps them be “carbon neutral”…another subsidy to the red states of america. I am afraid that if you want to meet your “carbon emission goals”, there will be the need for government subsidies. I would support these over a “carbon tax”.

    4) The entire premise of your “red states and counties get more federal money” is one that Krugman often uses and I find annoying..and I could continue writing…but I’ve wasted enough of my holiday time already.

  32. Gravatar of lysseas lysseas
    1. January 2017 at 09:42

    +1 for Riccardo’s comment from me too.

  33. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. January 2017 at 15:52

    Dtoh, Do I think what Trump is doing every single day as President elect is totally unprecedented in American history. Umm, yeah. He’s basically acting like Putin’s pawn, before even taking office. Any expectation that he would become “respectable” after the election is gone.

    Bob, Yes, the post explains why I believe that. I recall conservatives having contempt for the view that blacks should be seen as victims. But now lots of them are blaming neoliberalism for the plight of the white working class. I wonder why?

    If you want a specific example, look at how Pence viewed the heroin epidemic when it was mostly blacks, and how he views it now that it’s hit the white working class.

    Ben, Yes, and Peter answered your question in the quote I provided.

    Massimo, You said:

    “Sumner has chosen a set of demographic loyalties and a system of morality around these facts that seem arbitrary”

    Yeah, value everyone’s welfare equally. How much more arbitrary can you get?

    Thanks Lysseas.

  34. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    1. January 2017 at 16:56

    Scott,
    You didn’t answer the question which was whether “…. putting political pressures on companies to locate in a specific location is a new thing? “

  35. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    1. January 2017 at 21:48

    @sumern,

    “Yeah, value everyone’s welfare equally. How much more arbitrary can you get?”

    Do you not value your wife and children more than strangers? Your students? Your friends?

    Or your fellow countrymen? That is the premise of the nation, that it serves it’s members and owners, more than foreigners.

    You suggest that some people deserve their poor welfare due to individual choices they made and others do not deserve their poor welfare. That means you value the former’s welfare less than the latter.

    So, no, you don’t value everyone’s welfare equally at all. Your answer is not accurate.

  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    3. January 2017 at 08:46

    dtoh, Nothing is ever entirely new.

    Massimo. I believe the penalty for violating the law should be exactly the same for my family and friends as for anyone else. I believe that the Social Security benefits that someone receives should not depend on whether they are my family of friends. I don’t believe that my relatives should get government jobs just because they are my relatives.

    Utilitarianism is used for public policies, which should treat everyone as having equally worth. That’s completely unrelated to the question of whether you have more personal affection for the people close to you, which is only natural.

    You said:

    “You suggest that some people deserve their poor welfare due to individual choices they made and others do not deserve their poor welfare.”

    I never suggested that.

  37. Gravatar of pyroseed13 pyroseed13
    5. January 2017 at 10:04

    @Massimo

    I made this same point to Scott over on EconLog. He very clearly states that he is more concerned about the welfare of Vietnamese peasants than American workers. This is going to invariably inform what policies he thinks are appropriate and which are not, regardless of what any kind of independent economic analysis shows. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, and it’s consistent with his utilitarianism, but then he shouldn’t be surprised when a politician disagrees with him.

  38. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. January 2017 at 16:03

    pyroseed, You said:

    “I made this same point to Scott over on EconLog. He very clearly states that he is more concerned about the welfare of Vietnamese peasants than American workers.”

    If it was “very clear” then why don’t you provide an exact quote?

  39. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    12. January 2017 at 08:32

    Sumner,

    “I never suggested that.”

    of course you suggest that people deserve lower welfare for choices that they make. That is simple responsibility. I do too. You specifically mention “not studying hard in school or choosing to use opioids” as bad choices that deserve lower welfare outcomes.

    “I believe the penalty for violating the law should be exactly the same for my family and friends as for anyone else. I believe that the Social Security benefits that someone receives should not depend on whether they are my family of friends. I don’t believe that my relatives should get government jobs just because they are my relatives.”

    I mostly agree with this mindset. In many ways I also support immigrants taking jobs from locals that out compete on strict merit. And I agree that mass immigration open borders has an element of justice and fairness in this sense. I oppose ethnic immigration for other reasons I won’t get into in this comment.

    My big opposition to you on the subject of race/ethnicity/nations/borders, is it is laced with double standards and doesn’t seem to adhere to any greater consistent moral philosophy of framework. It’s filled with scenarios of favoring group A over B or loudly supporting absolute ethnic equality in larger cultural groupings of group A but turning a blind eye to similar bias of group B. And, you deny this, and hide it, but it’s quite real.

    To give one example, you recently spoke in favor of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. He’s a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association which has a charter of helping members of a particular ethnic group and excluding people of other ethnic groups. I don’t think that’s even a horrible thing to do, I don’t know Curiel but he’s probably a great all around person with a pretty normal human love of his own ethnic group. But this is the kind of blood racial ethnic exclusion that you otherwise speak against.

    Hopefully, not off topic, but Emma Lazarus was similarly very passionate about advancing the Jewish race and establishing a Jewish homeland nation and excluding other tribal groups. I love Jews, but I think that is tribalism is purposefully hidden in your world view.

    @pyroseed13,

    I’m glad others see this issue in the same light. thank you.

  40. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. January 2017 at 09:23

    Massimo, You said:

    “of course you suggest that people deserve lower welfare for choices that they make. That is simple responsibility. I do too. You specifically mention “not studying hard in school or choosing to use opioids” as bad choices that deserve lower welfare outcomes.”

    I have never made such a suggestion and never will. The post was discussing the views of conservatives, not me. I’m not a conservative, in case you haven’t noticed.

    You said:

    “To give one example, you recently spoke in favor of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.”

    I know nothing about this person, and have never spoken favorably of him. Are you completely unable to read?

  41. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    12. January 2017 at 10:23

    “I’m not a conservative, in case you haven’t noticed.”

    How would you summarize or categorize or label your ideology? Or do you fall into the category of being an anti categorizer?

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