The rise of American authoritarianism

This Onion story from 2001 proved to be highly prophetic:

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that “our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.”

The political situation in the US, and indeed much of the world, has deteriorated steadily since the beginning of the century. And just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.

This new story in Vox is the best piece of political analysis that I’ve read in years. The bottom line is that a group who believe in “authoritarianism” is on the rise in the US.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that if you are a libertarian like me, you should be very worried.  They are essentially the exact opposite of libertarianism.  If they take over the GOP, then the situation for libertarians will be the bleakest since at least the Nixon era.  The silver lining (and it’s a very slim one) is that it might give a boost to the Libertarian Party.

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123 Responses to “The rise of American authoritarianism”

  1. Gravatar of trumwill trumwill
    8. March 2016 at 15:35

    The definition of “authoritarian” seems… dubious to me. Or, at least, attributing the loaded word “authoritarian” to the “wrong” answer to these four questions seems to be.

    Not sure what word I might use, but when I think of people I know on the community-values side of these questions, the word “authoritarian” is not what comes to mind.

  2. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 15:48

    I already read that article, and I did not find it very persuasive. The issues list so-called authoritarians favor seems more oriented to Rubioism than Trumpism (except for the elimination of birthright citizenship, fear of a non-white U.S., and excessive support for police). The “effect of authoritarianism on Trump support” graph is interesting. Notice the low-authoritarian spike in Trump support, which the Vox article curiously doesn’t discuss. These must be people like Sam Harris and the gays joining the National Front. And the parenting questions seemed vague to me and not at all useful for what is being measured.

    BTW, I voted for Donald J. Trump about twenty minutes ago.

  3. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 15:54

    BTW, I still think the biggest threat to American liberties comes from the courts, the ultimate arbiters of the law. And it was a Bush I appointee who was the only dissenter in Gonzales v. Raich. Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, etc., are all libertarian decisions. Hillary wants to destroy Citizens United (for purely personal/political reasons). The Warren court had some libertarian decisions, but YMMV.

  4. Gravatar of TylerG TylerG
    8. March 2016 at 15:57

    Not only is Donald Trump’s GOP scary in it’s on right, but this article by Vox (predictably) doesn’t include the rise of American authoritarianism from the New Left as well. The rise of “social justice” totalitarian dogma monopolizing college campuses is being criminally under-reported: racially segregated “safe spaces”, speech codes, erosion of due process, codifying of “microaggression” offenses, etc etc.

    Yes, you can argue that these creepy Maoists haven’t gotten anywhere near as close to the political power of the presidency like Trump has. But consider that millennials are the first generation to favor speech codes over free speech: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/20/40-of-millennials-ok-with-limiting-speech-offensive-to-minorities/ It’s just a matter of time as these indoctrinated students graduate into positions of government and look to enact their undemocratic ideology. How many left-wing Trump caricatures do we have to look forward to?

  5. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    8. March 2016 at 15:58

    Good post. The right photo accompanies?
    The mild-mannered Kasich says the United States needs 16 aircraft carrier strike forces, up from the 11 to 12 we have now. These are global offensive weapons systems. In fact, the US sails the Seventh Fleet up and down the coast of China bristling with nuclear offensive weaponry. Kasich wants to up the game.

    Rubio and Cruz do not yet wear johdpurs….in public.

    Ron Paul I like. And he is a gold nut. Bloomberg won’t run. Hillary is a crony capitalist nationalist socialist, part of a team that occupied Afghanistan for eight years after Bush occupied it for eight years.

    Egads—is Bernie Sanders the best of the lot?

  6. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 16:00

    “The bottom line is that a group who believe in “authoritarianism” is on the rise in the US.”

    -No, it’s not, and that’s not even the point of the article. Authoritarian parenting types (as measured in the relevant questionnaire) were far more common in earlier times and are far more common in other countries. They are clearly on the decline.

  7. Gravatar of Lawrence D’Anna Lawrence D'Anna
    8. March 2016 at 16:03

    There’s a certain kind of “research”, where you take a an evocative concept that everyone is familiar with, and then develop a “test” that purports to measure it, and then go digging in the data for things that correlate with the thing you measured. Then you you say your evocative concept is related to this and that, but there’s an asterisk next to the concept now and the asterisk reads: “by which we mean the thing we know how to measure”

    This is catnip for journalists, because they can say “Science proves Trump supporters are Authoritarians”, but I’m skeptical. What is this thing they’re measuring that they’re calling “authoritarian”? Why is Vox so sure that “authoritarian” is an accurate name for it?

  8. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 16:03

    Tyler, I agree, the left-wing authoritarian personality type, though less fertile than the right-wing authoritarian one, is clearly on the ascendancy in America.

  9. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. March 2016 at 16:28

    It’s always the same with the media. When liberal leftists enforce a strong state and a strong President most journalists call it “a step forward” and “progress”. When right-wing people believe in a strong state and a strong President the very same people suddenly call it “right-wing populism” and “authoritarianism”. Those guys are just hypocrites, that’s all.

    Vox.com promised they would be different but as expected they aren’t different at all. It’s just more of the same bull.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. March 2016 at 16:28

    Tyler, Good point.

  11. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    8. March 2016 at 16:32

    Robert Altemeyer has retired, so I guess this crew is working that niche. Snooze.

  12. Gravatar of CMOT CMOT
    8. March 2016 at 16:35

    More accurate Vox headline: “Witch Hunters Absolutely Certain They Found Witches This time, Unlike All the Others”.

    If you can find any real world thing run by Trump supporters as authoritarian as big public universities have become, let me know.

    Until then, the great bird of Fascism, always seen as about to descend on the American right, will continue to land elsewhere …

  13. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    8. March 2016 at 16:38

    but this article by Vox (predictably) doesn’t include the rise of American authoritarianism from the New Left as well.

    They’re academics. Job one is avoiding bad career moves (if it ever occurred to them that Jerelyn Luther might be a problem). Gottfried Dietze and Richard Epstein critiques employment discrimination law. Crickets from the next generation of ‘libertarians’.

  14. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    8. March 2016 at 16:55

    Complete and utter drivel. Does not even merit a response.

  15. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    8. March 2016 at 17:16

    It sounded like they were describing Tiger Moms as Authoritarian.

    Uses gendered pronouns? Authoritarian!
    Disagrees with current Democratic Overton Window social norms? Authoritarian!

    Supports freedom of consensual polygamy? Authoritarian, or not?
    Opposes oppressive alimony laws? Authoritarian, or not?
    What about charging parents for murder for abandoning unwanted children on a mountainside “exposure”? Authoritarian, or not?

    I knew the article was drivel when they threw in the gratuitous “orange-toned” line in the first sentence. That’s how Trump himself would start his diatribe!

  16. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    8. March 2016 at 17:19

    Little Vox. Little little Vox. They’re a failed paper!

  17. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    8. March 2016 at 17:49

    Sumner: “I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that if you are a libertarian like me, you should be very worried” – now Sumner is back to saying Trump is a fascist, after flip-flopping on this issue and telling us in the previous post Trump was just posturing as a fascist to get votes. The saga continues…the saga of Sumner’s education.

  18. Gravatar of Giovanni Giovanni
    8. March 2016 at 18:17

    Libertarian? Why on Earth do you think you are a libertarian? This is the most astonishing claim you’ve ever made.

  19. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    8. March 2016 at 18:27

    The peasants are certainly revolting, aren’t they, Scott.

    Libertarianism was meant to keep white males on board the sinking ship called the Republican Party.

    However, the treatment doled out to Ron (look up the Maine debacle of 2012) and Rand Paul (from beating Clinton in the polls to utter marginalization) shows the lie.

    Both parties hate liberty and libertarians. Both parties are arms of the authoritarian globalist state.

    You, scott, and the republicans had the opportunity to back libertarian candidates. Where were your Rand Paul endorsements? That opportunity is gone now, yet the globalist clock keeps ticking.

    Block peaceful revolution via the ballot box? Bad idea, for you might get worse. That’s how stupid our oligarchy is. Complain about them rather than the trump symptom.

  20. Gravatar of CMOT CMOT
    8. March 2016 at 19:12

    This is sorta like the “constitution in exile” movement created by liberal legal scholars to describe a theory they purported that conservative and libertarian legal scholars believed, although none actually did.

    There were ever more fevered articles describing this dark and dangerous philosophy, all of which were fiction.

    It’s purported leaders found out the idea existed when they read about their machinations in the New York Times.

    See here http://www.volokh.com/posts/1104346631.shtml

  21. Gravatar of Mhill23 Mhill23
    8. March 2016 at 19:32

    Scott,

    Your fascination with Trump reminds me of the “If they hate him why do they listen to him?” scene in Private Parts, the Howard Stern movie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G6xu-J_Dmc

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. March 2016 at 19:50

    jknarr, I’ve always backed libertarians. I voted for Johnson in 2012, and endorsed him in my blog.

    Try again!

  23. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 20:09

    @ssumner

    -What about Ron Paul 2008?

  24. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    8. March 2016 at 20:28

    Scott, your last serious mention of Rand Paul was spent fleshing out another “racist!” hit piece, by Yglesias. You spent a fair amount of space describing how pragmatic a libertarian you were (right wing liberal)….

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=5141

    …And you support Johnson over Rand or Ron. Hmm. Sounds… Pure.

    Maybe you’re sensitive to the “big R” accusation. College campuses can do that, and I don’t blame you in the slightest.

    Q: What’s the sound of a liberal losing an argument?
    A: “Shut up, you racist fascist shitlord Nazi!!!”

    Sound familiar? In the slightest?

  25. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 21:34

    Sanders (Jew) and Trump (Trump) won Dearborn by stronger margins than they did in the rest of MI. Whoa.

  26. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    8. March 2016 at 21:42

    jknarr, you’re totally right; that was a terrible Sumner post. Is getting elected not a pragmatic motive? Is Trump not a pragmatist on everything? When Sumner looks at Trump, does he secretly see his reflection in the mirror?

  27. Gravatar of Anand Anand
    9. March 2016 at 05:06

    TylerG’s comments about “social justice” (the dreaded social justice warriors!) corresponding with “authoritarinism” are speculative and most probably wrong. Maybe TylerG considers such attitudes authoritarian, but the word definition is much different from the meaning of the term as defined in the piece. In particular, I seriously doubt that many people supporting limits on speech have authoritarian attitudes to parenting, as defined by the questions in the pieces.

  28. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    9. March 2016 at 05:12

    Schnickelgruber just took three more states.

    Kasich is promising to stop Schnickelgruber not at the ballot-box, but in a smoke-filled room at the GOP convention.

    Man, why does Scott Sumner watch movies? Real life is too far-fetched. There is sanity on the screen.

  29. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 05:29

    Trump won two states. Cruz won the third.

  30. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    9. March 2016 at 05:29

    “but the word definition is much different from the meaning of the term as defined in the piece.”

    -We. Know. That’s why the definition in the piece sucks.

    Trump won Hawaii. He and Sanders have had a very good night.

  31. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    9. March 2016 at 05:30

    So Vox publishes a 7,650 word essay on “Authoritarianism” and fails to mention once the left-wing totalitarianism that is rampant on college campuses. The author and publisher see Trump and scary Republicans and yet they are blind to progressive authoritarianism. University leaders who implement speech-codes and star chambers to expel college students on fake crimes are not Republican! What political affiliation do they have? Vox is silent. If they don’t admit it exists then in their reality it does not exist.

    So what is real about American politics?

    (1) Humans are attracted to authoritarianism and they are drawn to it by advocacy from both the political left and the right.

    (2) Trump communicates as an authoritarian but so does Obama. Both are absolutists – Obama is going to close Guantanamo. Trump is going to build a wall. Each likes to say they will do things that in truth neither can do without the cooperation of Congress. But they say it anyways. Bush W. was also an authoritarian in the same way. As long as voters expect their leaders to show authority then US presidents will give it to them, even if it is just for show.

    (3) We do not know how Trump will govern. All Americans can do is project their hopes and fears onto him. Those who fear him project the worst. Those who hope in Trump project great improvements.

    (4) If libertarians / classical liberals want to make political progress they need to reject ignorant analysis such as this Vox article. Freedom is not gained by partisan, one-sided arguments. It is won by making the case for liberty and both major political parties and their sycophants fail in this regard.

  32. Gravatar of collin collin
    9. March 2016 at 05:53

    Of course, libertarians should be worried as the Ron Paul relatively successful run in 2012 did not extend to Rand Paul in 2016 whose campaign failed day one. I did wonder if the Ron Paul Revolution could extend past his career as his country doctor personna could win the small town c-conservative (Laura Ingalls religious) versus the Ayn Rand libertarians. Clearly, Rand could not even come close to replicating his father success (or at least yet and I suspect his 2015 move to strong military completely lost potential brogressive voters.)

    Will this continue? Probably depends upon working class wages.

  33. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    9. March 2016 at 07:30

    Did Hawaii revert to being a territory?

    Schickelgruber. No “n.”

  34. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 08:36

    Damn those authoritarian social justice warriors and their instance on things like respecting each human person and their right to dignity as a creature.

    What are they thinking when they insist that these rights exist prior to society and so must be recognized by it? That they are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority and that by flouting them or refusing to recognize them, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy. That if the dignity of every human person is not recognized and respected, that authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects.

    Damn those authoritarian social justice “warriors” and their thinking that respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self and that above all we should bear in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.

    That no legislation could by itself do away with fears and prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies and that such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a neighbor, a brother.

    That the duty of making oneself a neighbor to others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be.

  35. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    9. March 2016 at 08:54

    The Vox piece was not good. The Left is clueless about Trump. So is Romney.

    The way I see it, the one big blow Trump has suffered was on Trump University. I think Megyn Kelly, with help from Cruz and Rubio, drew some real blood with that one. Stay on that.

    It’s a simple story, easy to understand: Trump lends his name to a sleazy rip-off. If you’re trying to make inroads with the kind of people thinking about voting for Trump, this is it.

    If you’re trying to score tribal points against people you don’t like and having long thoughts about how great this ‘democracy’ thing you’ve been extolling is, the Vox piece is right on point.

  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. March 2016 at 09:54

    Harding, You said:

    “that was a terrible Sumner post. Is getting elected not a pragmatic motive?”

    When your argument applies equally to Hitler, maybe it’s time to rethink the logic. However I have to say that your comment was no worse than most of the others. I’m not surprised this group of commenters has trouble seeing Trump for what he is.

    This entire comment section is mood affiliation on steriods.

  37. Gravatar of collin collin
    9. March 2016 at 10:58

    I’m not surprised this group of commenters has trouble seeing Trump for what he is.

    This entire comment section is mood affiliation on steriods.

    This along with Donald Trump post sounds the basic democratic mistrust of libertarians and round about way of saying the infamous Mel Brooks pun “The peasants are revolting!” In reality, most Americans do see Donald Trump as a Con Man but the message has worked for many Republican and some Democratic voters. It might worth thinking about why Trump has been so successful versus simply complaining versus simply mistrusting democracy. (I remember it took Americans a while to trust Ronald Reagan in 1979 – 1980 and the Democrats whithered away in the 1980s mistrusting the democratic vote.)

  38. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 11:01

    I’m not surprised this group of commenters has trouble seeing Trump for what he is.

    When chaps in uniform

    http://orig03.deviantart.net/f65a/f/2014/206/7/d/iron_guard__conducator_s_uniforms_by_adyb234-d7s8nc9.png

    kidnap Bryan Caplan and take him to some quonset hut in Prince William County and beat the crap out of him, maybe your ‘fascist, fascist!’ shtick starts to sound not so grotesquely silly. Run through the biographies of the half-dozen or so most consequential inter-war fascist leaders. They bear no resemblance to that of Donald Trump. The domestic and international situations of each country bear little resemblance. This has nothing to do with Trump, but with the incapacity of libertarians to contemplate and appreciate law enforcement or ordinary social solidarity.

  39. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 11:08

    Damn those authoritarian social justice warriors and their instance on things like respecting each human person and their right to dignity as a creature.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEFD_JVYd0

    Jerelyn Luther’s energetic respect for each human person.

    More respect for each person in the St. Louis suburbs:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZWzPaPXhr8

  40. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 11:16

    @Art

    Donald trump is:

    1. Employing plain clothes private security personnel at his rallies to conduct intel on potential protestors
    2. Having his supporters raise their hand and pledge to support him
    3. Encouraging his supporters to violently surpress those that disagree with him
    4. Actively courting the supremacists.
    5a. Basing his campaign on blaming undesirables for all of our nations problems;
    5b. Promising to restore the nation to its former greatness.

    Trump bears a very strong resemblance to fascists. He is a bigot, a misogynist, an egomaniac, a fear monger, a conspiracy theorist, and an overall immoral character.

  41. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 11:20

    @Art, any good catholic should immediately recognize my first comment there as it pulled it nearly verbatim out of Chapter 2, Article 3 of the CCC. Its really an excellent section I might add.

  42. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 11:25

    Part 3

  43. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. March 2016 at 11:31

    @ssumner

    mood affiliation

    Tyler Cowen has the questionable ability to put really simple and long-known occurrences into complicated intellectual sounding neologisms. He could have simple said: People defend what they like and they attack what they don’t like – no matter what happens. But this wouldn’t sound intellectual. It would sound obvious – and stupid.

    I would put it in another way: What you do is mood affiliation. You decided upfront that Trump is an idiot and now you are sticking to it no matter what. You never really had an open mind about him.

    I made a similar mistake until a few days ago. I really disliked Trump (I believed the media) and cheered for Cruz. But then I decided to watch the last debate all the way through – with as much of an open mind as possible. And even though I still had a “mood affiliation” for Cruz, I realized that Trump is the better candidate.

    After the debate many pundits asserted that this was Trump’s worst debate so far. He had a bad day, they said. So I still wonder: What kind of Nietzschean ubermensch is this guy when he’s having a good day?!


    When your argument applies equally to Hitler, maybe it’s time to rethink the logic.

    I don’t thinks so. That sounds a bit like you can’t say smoking is good, because Hitler was anti-smoking and a semi-vegetarian diet is bad, because Hitler ate that way. In almost all cases Hitler should not be a part of the equation at all.

    Speaking of Hitler: I think Trump’s communication skills are way superior. Hitler never had to do democratic debates like we see them today. He was speaking to his audience alone. Often hand-picked audiences. He did not have to face opponents or moderators. And surely no one took him under constant fire in debates. I think Hitler would really suck in the TV debates we have today.

  44. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. March 2016 at 11:42

    @Dan W.
    I think all your points are very good but especially:

    We do not know how Trump will govern. All Americans can do is project their hopes and fears onto him. Those who fear him project the worst. Those who hope in Trump project great improvements.

    This sounds very true. A lot commenters here (including me) are pretty optimistic about Trump. We hope for the best. Scott Sumner on the other hand seems to be really pessimistic.

    I think it’s better to hope for the best than assuming the worst. What kind of pessimistic world view is assuming the worst? I also think it’s better to be for someone than just being against someone.

    Edit: “That sounds a bit like you can’t say smoking is *bad* because…”

  45. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    9. March 2016 at 11:59

    I have never seen Godwin’s Law applied so broadly by such erstwhile intelligent people.

    IMHO, accusing “Hitler!” is a clear admission of: “Yes, I’ve lost the argument, but I’m angry about it, and I don’t mind sounding stupid also.”

    Associated:
    Reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of association fallacy. The argument is that a policy leads to – or is the same as – one advocated or implemented by Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich and so “proves” that the original policy is undesirable.

    Another instance of reductio ad Hitlerum is asking a question of the form “You know who else…?” with the deliberate intent of impugning a certain idea or action by implying Hitler held that idea or performed such action.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

  46. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 12:07

    Donald trump is: 1. Employing plain clothes private security personnel at his rallies to conduct intel on potential protestors

    I’m wondering what your active imagination would do with the revelation that there’s a federal agency called the ‘Secret Service’.

    2. Having his supporters raise their hand and pledge to support him

    3. Encouraging his supporters to violently surpress those that disagree with him

    When and where?

    4. Actively courting the supremacists.

    In the space between your ears and nowhere else.

    5a. Basing his campaign on blaming undesirables for all of our nations problems;

    Again, your inability to properly construe and interpret someone’s statements is not that other persons fault.

    5b. Promising to restore the nation to its former greatness.

    Your complaint here says more about you than about him.

    Look, Student. The moderator is an adept of witless analogies. At age 60, he’s intellectually ossified and in too deep. What’s your excuse?

  47. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 12:09

    @Art, any good catholic should immediately recognize my first comment there as it pulled it nearly verbatim out of Chapter 2, Article 3 of the CCC. Its really an excellent section I might add.

    I don’t give a damn that you opened a copy of the catechism. Your conception of our current situation is fatuous.

  48. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    9. March 2016 at 13:02

    “When your argument applies equally to Hitler, maybe it’s time to rethink the logic.”

    -Uh, no. Killing the Jews and starting a war with the USSR was never popular in 1933, and openly and loudly advocating these would have made Hitler unelectable.

    “However I have to say that your comment was no worse than most of the others. I’m not surprised this group of commenters has trouble seeing Trump for what he is.”

    -You were surprised Trump won so many states, weren’t you?

    “This entire comment section is mood affiliation on steriods.”

    -Sumner: is Trump a fascist or a Democrat?

    If Democrat, how is he worse than Obama?

    If fascist, what’s your evidence for it?

    Your posts are mood affiliation on steroids. Not the comments I type here. Again, when you look at Trump, do you secretly see your reflection in the mirror?

    “In the space between your ears and nowhere else.”

    -Not true, Art. Just look at his Twitter account over the past six months.

    “Damn those authoritarian social justice warriors and their instance on things like respecting each human person and their right to dignity as a creature.”

    -Do you read the New York Times comments? Or read the comments at any SJW blog? They really do see conservatives as either rubes of the powerful or as subhuman.

    The rest of your comment is just plain nuts. SJWs are almost always very anti-Catholic.

    “Tyler Cowen has the questionable ability to put really simple and long-known occurrences into complicated intellectual sounding neologisms.”

    -Bingo. That, as well as his being widely read, is a huge part of why people (apparently) vastly overestimate Cowen’s IQ. In my Tylerisms Glossary, “mood affiliation” is simply “bias”. As another example of Cowen being overrated, Cowen doesn’t seem intelligent enough to tell me I’m banned, or institute a comment policy, or stop deleting my good comments along with the bad, or institute prior approval for comment moderation, or to make any other intelligent steps regarding my comments. His steps so far have been blocking my email, blocking my IP (about a month after starting to delete my comments), blocking bit.ly clickable links (about two months after I began using it; before this he just blocked each individual link, not the whole site, though he did quickly block tinyurl.com), blocking the Marginal Counterrevolution, and deleting replies to deleted comments. None of this indicates extraordinary intelligence. Just the opposite.

    “He had a bad day, they said.”

    -The biggest failure Trump had at the Detroit debate was his clear ignorance of budget statistics and how to get to a budget surplus. I watched both Michigan debates, to get a feel for the candidates.

    “So I still wonder: What kind of Nietzschean ubermensch is this guy when he’s having a good day?!”

    🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ODgVXnRG-8

  49. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 13:21

    @Art, I suggest you pull your head out of the sand.

    1.) Ben Schrekinger of Politico reports, “two members of Trump’s private security team wore street clothes to a rally in New Orleans. One of them, Eddie Deck, explained to reporters that his duties were now weighted towards intelligence work researching potential protesters and assisting uniformed security personnel under the direction of Trump’s head of security.”

    2.) http://thehill.com/sites/default/files/blogs/trump_raise_hands_.jpg

    3.) 8/21/2015, Boston MA: two men beat the a homeless mexican man with a metal pipe and then urinate on him. Afterwards they tell police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported. Trumps response, “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate… they love this country, they want this country to be great again.”

    11/22/2015, Birmingham, AL: A black lives matter protestor was punched and kicked after he was tackled to the ground by attendees Trump’s rally. At least one onlooker yelled, “Don’t choke him! Don’t choke him!” Trump is heard in the video yelling, “Get him the hell out of here!” He comments on in the next morning… “Maybe he should have been roughed up”.

    2/22/2016, Las Vegas, NV: Trump says he would like to punch in the face a protester who was escorted out of one of his rallies.

    3/4/2016, Warren, MI: When a protester interrupted his speech he encouraged his audience members to force the protester out.
    “Get him out, Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court.” then he asks the crowd, “Are Trump rallies the most fun? We’re having a good time.”

    Then he recalls to the crown an incident in New Hampshire where a protester started “swinging and punching,” and he says that some people in the audience “took him out. It was really amazing to watch,”

    Police are currently investigating at least two reports of assault at a 2/28/2016 rally in KY. At least one of Mr. Trump’s supporters who assaulted the woman (Joseph Pryor) was discharged from the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program after bragging about his involvement in the assault online.

    Need I go on????

    4.) Trump grants press passes and VIP parking as a fellow named James Edwards broadcasts his radio show “The Political Cesspool” live from a Trump rally. Previous guests on the show have included Neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and Ku Klux Klan leaders.

    What would you prefer to call that?

    5.) Trumps to main policy positions are 1 building a wall with Mexico and forcibly remove 11 million illegal alien rapists and drug dealers, and 2 ending trade deals where other nations are beating us.

    Also, the name student is a play on the etymology of the student t distribution, which no one seems to pick up on. Lastly, maybe you should crack open the catechism once in a while, as we Catholics are supposed to do that so we aren’t ignorant of the church’s teachings.

  50. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    9. March 2016 at 13:22

    Anti-Federalism is only problem the country and the GOP face, Vox is to blame:

    https://medium.com/@morganwarstler/vox-com-uses-anti-federalism-to-make-americans-hate-each-other-327187201683#.5mo3cryew

    THERE IS ONLY ONE PROBLEM

    There is simply NO EXCUSE for the GOP to not function as a 50 State Party with no absolutely required ideological positions, except for:

    DC will shrink, not grow, bc states will be left to decide everything.

    IT’S SIMPLE

    In EVERY state there exists a hegemony of 51% of likely voters and donor$ that is happy to keep their $ and power at the state level.

    Yes, yes many smaller Red states are net receivers of DC dollars, but that is bribe money and need not end overnight & with modern technology being what it is… if they have a true vehicle to capture back control and be more agile in iterative changes to their laws and regulations… end agency benefits all.

    If CA GOP agrees on 80% but wildly deviates on drugs, gay marriage, and environment… she is not a RINO, bc her commitment is to let all the states decide!

    If OH GOP runs a anti-trade and pro private-sector unions… he is not a RINO, bc the GOP has determined on true Federal issues, we are flexible on Trade, Military, Immigration – POTUS leads the party and he deals with Congress and our own ideology is to be a 50 state party of “Power to the Big Fish in Small Ponds”

    The LESS the GOP tries to do in DC:

    1. the more popular we become
    2. the easier it is to get along with each other in America, we can live in Harmony!
    3. the MORE liberals will be tempted to to try their Blue Utopias

    There is only one way forward…

    Soon technology will make all of this SUPER OBVIOUS. Law is just code. 50 states can all run the same software in completely different ways…. “)

  51. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 13:37

    Cowen doesn’t seem intelligent enough to

    I think it’s a reasonable wager he pays an intern for that sort of thing. He and Tabarrok seldom reply to anyone (unlike Megan McArdle, who has a three digit population of comments on every post). Some instruction from the IT Service at Mason might help, but being service-oriented does not come naturally to many and perhaps most in IT and if you don’t have someone up top nurturing a service culture in your agency, you commonly will not have it (at least that’s my experience with campus IT). We could tell you some stories from our house.

    What gets his goat is certainly obscure.

  52. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 13:40

    Student, it may strike you as sinister that where you have large concentrations of people, someone gets into a fight with someone else. It’s not going to strike anyone else as sinister unless they’re terminally naive. I suggest you stay away from rock concerts.

  53. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 13:45

    5.) Trumps to main policy positions are 1 building a wall with Mexico

    What’s wrong with that? If you have no enforcement, you have no immigration policy. One of the main impediments to enforcement is the permeable border. It’s been an issue for 40 years.

    and forcibly remove 11 million illegal alien

    They’re in the country illegally. The logic of your position is that anything but OPEN BORDERS is ‘fascist’.

    rapists and drug dealers,

    There is such a thing as crime among illegal aliens. Trump points this out, and your addled head hears ‘he called 11 million people rapists’. That’s your defect, not his.

    and 2 ending trade deals where other nations are beating us.

    The most recent trade deal incorporated 40,000 pages of text and the Congress was expected to ratify it without knowing its contents.

  54. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 13:50

    What would you prefer to call that?

    His staff gave press credentials to someone who runs a freak show. People with press passes cover the campaign. They’re not extensions of the campaign in any formal sense.

  55. Gravatar of Student Student
    9. March 2016 at 14:00

    I get it, your a disgruntled old white guy that feels threatened by the browning of America. Just grow a pair and say so.

  56. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    9. March 2016 at 14:11

    Most of y’all are gonna be so mad when Hillary wins the presidency.

    @Christian: when that happens, will you “hope for the best instead of assuming the worst”?

  57. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 14:17

    I get it, your a disgruntled old white guy that feels threatened by the browning of America.

    If it helps you feel better, go with that. No skin off my nose.

  58. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. March 2016 at 14:40

    @msgkings
    Of course I will. I’m always hoping for the best. In her case I’m hoping that her foreign policy will not be as naive as the foreign policy of people like Obama and Merkel. I think we actually so some signs that this hope could come true. I heard she was actually one of the few persons who tried to convince Obama of another policy in Syria for example.

    The other hope I have is that she could reach across the aisle regarding domestic policy. Obama did not keep his promise of reaching across the aisle at all. The last President who could really do this was Reagan – and maybe Clinton to some extent. So Hillary got all the connections in Washington you need and she might not be as ideological as Obama. So if Obama was Kennedy (lots of glitter, lots of talk), Hillary could be Lyndon B. Johnson. A person who can reach across the aisle, a person who gets things done.

    But you have to admit that with Trump you get far more emotions. The scale is so much wider in both directions. So much hate, so much love. Hillary is Hillary. A pretty safe bet but this also means that you can’t really expect any miracles (positive or negative) from her. The thrill is missing.

    From an economic perspective the US is on its feet again. At least in my view. I don’t see the need for a safe bet now. In this situation I would aim for the big risky shot. Raise or fall. All or nothing. One nation under many or Great America again.

  59. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    9. March 2016 at 15:07

    People should calm down about Trump. (Well, maybe not the oligarchs, they should be worried.) Americans will never go full-dictator, they’re just tired of bearing the costs of tens of millions of low IQ illegal infiltrators. The costs are high and visible, it’s reasonable that voters should want something done about it.

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

  60. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. March 2016 at 15:41

    @ssumner

    I’m not surprised this group of commenters has trouble seeing Trump for what he is.

    A lot of groups seem to have problems to see Trump for what he *really* is according to you. So in other words: Do you have information we don’t have? Do you have information we don’t see? Are you sure about this? How do you bring this together with EMH? In what way is a voting market different from any other market? Why should EMH not apply in a voting market? These questions really interest me. It’s even a pretty economic question, isn’t it?

  61. Gravatar of Catherine Catherine
    9. March 2016 at 16:14

    Trump’s voters aren’t authoritarians, new research says. So what are they? By Wendy Rahn and Eric Oliver March 9 at 2:00 PM

    EXCERPT:

    Watch out, the authoritarians are coming!

    That’s been the alarm, after recent reports that scoring high in authoritarianism was the strongest predictor that someone would support Donald Trump. “Authoritarian” has some strongly negative connotations. So it’s no wonder that anti-Trump pundits from Nicholas Frankovich to David Brooks have been quick to repeat this finding. What better way to equate Trump with Hitler?

    But in our research, we find no evidence that Trump supporters are any more “authoritarian” (at least by common measures) than those who like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) or even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

    Instead, Trump’s supporters are distinctive in another way: They are true populists.

  62. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. March 2016 at 16:51

    Harding, You said:

    “that was a terrible Sumner post. Is getting elected not a pragmatic motive?”

    Then you say the Hitler comparison is bad because Hitler’s actual policies were not pragmatic. That’s my point!!! You have a truly bizarre definition of pragmatism—whatever gets you elected. Okay . . . .

    Are you sure you want to stick with the claim that getting elected makes you pragmatic???

    Christian, You said:

    “This sounds very true. A lot commenters here (including me) are pretty optimistic about Trump. We hope for the best. Scott Sumner on the other hand seems to be really pessimistic.”

    Talk about missing the point! It’s not about what Trump will do, it’s about WHAT HE IS. If Trump takes over the GOP then America has two parties, the Dems (who may soon go socialist) and the National Front. Imagine France without a center right party. Does that future appeal to you?

    And what does it say about you and your friends that you are “optimistic” about a clown, a buffoon? Everything out of his mouth is either a lie or a policy proposal so absurd it can only be laughed at. You are impressed that he thinks the IRS is persecuting him because he is such a strong Christian? Really? Or is it his impressive anatomy? I’m impressed that people so clueless about Trump read my posts on monetary policy. It shows you that there are many different types of intelligence.

  63. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    9. March 2016 at 17:13

    “That’s my point!!!”

    -OK. Just so you know, the first comment here where I used the word “pragmatic” was in reply to

    “But if you are going to take that sort of extreme position on an issue very dear to African-Americans, and then toss away your principles on an issue dear to white conservatives who favor locking up lots of African-Americans for drug violations, then people may begin to question your motives.”

    So you’re saying Trump might not be pragmatic in his policies once he rises to power? Might be true, but he’s certainly acting like a pragmatist while on his way to getting elected.

    “Are you sure you want to stick with the claim that getting elected makes you pragmatic???”

    -I didn’t say that. I said getting elected was a pragmatic motive.

    “Does that future appeal to you?”

    -More than the U.S. transforming into New Mexico, or France transforming into New Algeria, or Germany into New Syria.

    “Everything out of his mouth is either a lie or a policy proposal so absurd it can only be laughed at.”

    -Is a National Spying Agency or Obama publicly killing an innocent child of a U.S. citizen with no apology really “so absurd it can only be laughed at”? We already have that, you know?

    “Everything out of his mouth is either a lie or a policy proposal so absurd it can only be laughed at.”

    -As I’ve repeatedly said, this much better describes loser Rubot than the Donald. The Donald is the least absurd candidate of this election season. Think not absolute absurdity, Sumner, but relative. Are you not a follower of Rorty?

  64. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    9. March 2016 at 17:47

    Libertarianism is not the opposite of totalitarianism. Real Christianity is the opposite of totalitarianism. Those called in Christ, the elect, are free. They are totally free. They have eternal life. Libertarians worship self, and are played by the totalitarians often. What does Scott think Thatcherism was? Lol.

    The invisible hand of self interest is not godly nor is it free. It is bound by self, which is manifestly in prison, spiritually speaking.

  65. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    9. March 2016 at 18:03

    BTW, I will be live-tweeting the Dem debate at

    https://twitter.com/Enopoletus

  66. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    9. March 2016 at 19:38

    After 1 hour 30 minutes of #DemDebate, I support Donald Trump harder than ever! Guys, vote for Donald J. Trump. He is the only man who can even remotely save the nation!

  67. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    9. March 2016 at 21:12

    It’s not about what Trump will do, it’s about WHAT HE IS.

    And there’s a distinction between what he is and your fever dreams. (Which seem to alternate between seeing Trump as John Belushi and seeing him as Jacques Doriot).

  68. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    9. March 2016 at 21:58

    @Art:

    Ever the hypocrite. If Trump was a Dem you’d be ripping him harder than Sumner does.

  69. Gravatar of John S John S
    9. March 2016 at 21:58

    Open borders = the death of libertarianism. Trump single-handedly shifted the GOP’s Overton Window against giving amnesty to illegal aliens.

    He is a clown and a buffoon, but he’s also a RealTalker who’s willing to take heat for not being a PC cheerleader. Kudos to him.

    From Pew Research:

    % who would rather have a Smaller govt/Fewer services or Bigger govt/More services:

    Whites: 62% to 27%
    Hispanics: 26% to 71%

    http://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/2-general-opinions-about-the-federal-government/views-of-govt-10/

  70. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    10. March 2016 at 05:53

    And what does it say about you and your friends that you are “optimistic” about a clown, a buffoon? Everything out of his mouth is either a lie or a policy proposal so absurd it can only be laughed at. You are impressed that he thinks the IRS is persecuting him because he is such a strong Christian? Really? Or is it his impressive anatomy? I’m impressed that people so clueless about Trump read my posts on monetary policy. It shows you that there are many different types of intelligence.

    Yes Scott, Trump is no Christian and he is a very dangerous demagogue.

  71. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    10. March 2016 at 07:15

    @John S, you said it.

    Libertarianism will be crushed by semi-open borders. Frankly, American-style liberty, wherein we’re allowed to own guns, allowed freedom of speech, will be crushed by almost any high-volume immigration policy. Ann Coulter showed that all major immigrant-supplying countries (but for the Vietnamese) vote majority for Democrats. Obviously Republicans are useless, but this fact shows the preferences of the immigrant cultures is antagonistic to that of flyover America. Why can’t flyover Americans stand up for control of their policy future? How is this illegitimate?

  72. Gravatar of Philip C Philip C
    10. March 2016 at 07:51

    Oh no, my guy, MY GUY, he’s OK, it’s YOUR GUY, HE’S the authoritarian one.

    wtf. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

    Gary Johnson 2016

  73. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 08:30

    @Art

    The saga continues even today:

    http://time.com/4253898/donald-trump-protester-north-carolina-rally-punched/

    Its probably just a few rowdy Trump backers and nothing systematic about it…

    http://arizona.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341bf80c53ef01b8d1a79dc3970c-500wi

  74. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. March 2016 at 08:37

    ONE MORE TIME. Walls / Fences are LIBERTARIAN.

    Scott’s just not being Libertarian here – which is OK. Sometime he adopts Humanist Utilitarianism.

    1) We start with this… Libertarians are the Hegemony BEFORE the state exists. Guys who can hold land / property on their own devices.

    2) The state forms amongst hegemons who agree to the barest of state. 100% PRIVATE property and a title office to certify the owners…. the hegemons have to agree to agree to this or no state forms.

    3) Hey, there’s an immigrant! he’s outside the land of new state! He wants to come in… he NEEDS an invite! Even getting to Scott’s property thru Morgan’s is problematic.

    4) Hey wait, there’s a bunch of them with no invites! At this point, hegemons face two choices: we each build fences or to SAVE MONEY build a border wall.

    So title office comes first. Second in Libertarian theory is BORDER WAL.

    ——

    So for the love os Kee-Ryst, can we please use words and ideas that MEAN THINGS?

  75. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. March 2016 at 09:31

    Fascinating article chronicling how Trump has been hinting at and even tiptoeing into running for President since 1988. And apparently his BS hasn’t changed in that time, but the reception to it obviously has.

    It’s a weird time in politics.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/crying-trump

  76. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. March 2016 at 09:34

    @Morgan- here’s some words that mean things:

    The theoretical libertarian world you describe has less than zero chance of ever happening on any scale larger than a seasteading island. And you know this.

  77. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 09:50

    Morgan has some good points but his conception of a Libertarian utopia sounds a lot like Feudal Europe. No thanks. It also omits a huge component of what makes us human… empathy.

    That sounds great when you are born as blessed as Morgan with a sharp mind, a healthy body, and much business success. But we are not all that lucky. A society based on 100% self-interest, pure selfishness, and narcissism is no place I want to live.

  78. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. March 2016 at 09:56

    Harding, If Trump is the only man who can “save” us, then there is no hope for America.

  79. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. March 2016 at 09:59

    @ssumner: it helps to remember America doesn’t really need ‘saving’. It’s a pretty good place. We forget that every 4 years.

  80. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 10:34

    msgkings, the country I describe in the Strange Utopia definitely needs saving (or maybe is beyond salvation):

    https://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/a-strange-utopia/

    Admittedly, Trump is a protectionist, due to his desire to redistribute income to blue-collar workers. But whatevs, he’s the least likely to get America into nuclear war -and lose- due to his intuitive understanding of negotiation and great power politics.

  81. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    10. March 2016 at 10:48

    Scott, what people want is a real opposition party.

    The Republicans offer relentless losers – Dole, McCain, Romney – for the chop; while the legislative side is dominated by get-along-to-go-along RINO hacks like Boehner and Cantor.

    Many Americans – including you – don’t embrace the borderless/socialist/SJW/globalist/search-and-surveil all-powerful STATE.

    We want an opposition party. This means borders, free markets, free speech, national priorities, and restrained government.

    Trump is very imperfect, but he is hitting the right notes. Whether he executes these goals faithfully is really beside the point. Reward the right stated goals with power, and ultimately and over time, politicians (power seeking) will re-orient and embrace. How to train a polity? Stimulus and reward.

    So don’t presume Trump supporters are naive about failed promises: they are far more cynical about politicians than the thin-gruel-eating establishment supporters.

    The Republican establishment are hollow men doing a long con. Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves. Bring on the opposition.

  82. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 10:53

    @E. Harding,

    The country you describe is a figment of you imagination. Kind of like your perception of Trump.

  83. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. March 2016 at 11:07

    Jknarr, I like how people say “what people want” when they actually mean “what I want”.

    US population growth under Obama (0.7%/year) is the slowest since the mid-1930s. The last thing we need is closed borders. Talk about a solution without a problem!

    Or are you one of those guys who think “certain people” are inferior?

  84. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. March 2016 at 11:08

    “The theoretical libertarian world you describe has less than zero chance of ever happening on any scale larger than a seasteading island. And you know this.”

    NON-RESPONSIVE.

    Ok let me explain this for you and Student:

    We’re all pragmatic Libertarians here, the general idea is the folks who create excess value, the top half who spend 5+ years in top 20%, maybe even the 83% who spend just 1…

    We are NICE. We want to CARE FOR FOR OTHERS.

    But, we ALSO do that inside our hegemonic normative framework – the one where we’ll kill everybody if they ever get close to actually changing it.

    This credible threat is REAL. and guess what it exists in EVERY STATE, literally USSR fell and all these former communist countries son Day 1, the hegemons all started protecting their sh*t, their ability to generate value, hiring bigger dumb guys to protect their property.

    Then on Day2, they started networking with each other to figure out a CHEAPER WAY TO PROTECT THEIR STUFF – this is how states form.

    Go to Cuba or VZ or some other banana republic, and you still have a hegemony made up of the same basic guys… it’s just that their BELIEFS that the ENSHRINE into the normative hegemony…

    CAN’T COMPETE with the dominant Libertarian hegemony put into action by the Unites States. Neither can China. Nobody can! They all get driven to ADOPT our values!

    Look, this is basic memetics and Realpolitik… ideas live in brains and the better brains form nations and do battle thru expression of those those ideas with other nations lead by other brains.

    Nordics, Ordoliberal, Rawls – all of these are welfare theories are based on the same ideas ENFORCED BY LIBERTARIAN PRAGMATISTS here in the US… everybody able bodied must work towards others ends. This is normative and built into all these awesome 1st world countries.

    In the US, we have trust issues, that can easily be solved by tech (Uber, Airbnb, Ebay, etc). That’s why #Uber4Welfare is so smart.

    Now back to the wall. Friedman said and we ALL KNOW, that a wall increases the amount of welfare that we can put into the basket for our citizens.

    A WALL and Renegotiating trade deals (Rust Belt GOP) may in fact make it easier to change the tax code to consumption rather than income – like Cruz wants.

    A WALL, IMO will definitely make it easier to force Mexico to let us have full property rights and colonize it into a 1st world country and later some states.

    And A WALL allows us to to turn US into Trump’s Country Club for top 5% of Earthlings, which gives US natives the best service sector jobs on Earth.

    This last point is also strategic, because it allows us to engage in Brain Drain of all the other nation state competitors and speed up human history.

    This is ALL very very Libertarian.

    get it?

  85. Gravatar of mskings mskings
    10. March 2016 at 11:17

    @Morgan: oh yes I get it, and yes it’s all very very libertarian indeed.

  86. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    10. March 2016 at 11:27

    Hi Scott, I disavow inferiority in all stripes and colors. Let a billion flowers bloom in this infinite strange wonderfulness of your and my existence. Everything is temporary.

    That said, I’m not a globalist authoritarian. Rule of national law, not of *pens and phone* discretion of some guy. This goes for demographics too – not certain why you’re lawless in this regard.

    To your point, I’ve looked at the trend of population growth in the US in some great detail. I hope that you’re pleased to hear a NGDP connection:

    Turns out that population growth lags NGDP – the rate of NGDP secular slowdown in 1810-1850 was followed by population slowdowns. Same for the Great Depression — NGDP collapsed, population growth rates collapsed.

    Today’s tight money policies produce your demographic problem: slow NGDP growth means slow domestic population growth (population lags BTW).

    The strong currency created by tight money policy encourages immigration as a substitute – i.e. conversely, if the USD dumps, people won’t come here to work as much.

    I expect that you’re delighted – your NGDP work is applicable to US demographics as well!

    Loosen Fed policy, boost NGDP, and watch another billion flowers bloom.

  87. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. March 2016 at 11:30

    @ Morgan – yes I do get it and yes it’s all very very libertarian

  88. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 11:43

    @Morgan,

    Again some fair points. However, I think those points can be better described in terms of inclusive and extractive institutions and critical junctures in the phraseology of Acemoglu and Robinson who pretty much nailed it… rather than the libertarian structures you are suggesting (although they two are somewhat related).

    What you are basically saying is that rich oligarchs or power hungry thugs impose their will on people and say they want to help people unless they have to sacrifice something… at which point their true greedy nature is revealed. This is somewhat true and inherently evil.

    It becomes institutionally evil if to few oligarchs form the state and are able to institutionalize their initial advantage or if greed and self-interest win the day. If and when this happens, technical change stops and the society ultimately fails as more inclusive and empathetic places catch up and pass up those societies in terms of technical capability.

    In other words, these statements are not entirely correct and are probably more wrong than right.

    “ideas live in brains and the better brains form nations and do battle thru expression of those those ideas with other nations lead by other brains.”

    “…CAN’T COMPETE with the dominant Libertarian hegemony put into action by the Unites States. Neither can China. Nobody can! They all get driven to ADOPT our values!”

    While ideas do live in brains… brains are drawn from a random distribution across the globe in the grand scheme of things.

    Successful places don’t have better brains (although better brains do migrate from their place of birth with higher proclivity), rather successful places have inclusive institutions rather than extractive ones, and so make better use of those brains.

    The banana republics, Chinas, and Russias of the world dont adopt our values… they adopt our technologies… due to the creative milieu our inclusive institutions and more empathetic society facilitates.

    Look, kindness, empathy, mutual respect, and treatment of others as an extension of one’s self is not only morally superior… it is economically advantageous. I am no socialist and fully acknowledge that there is a natural uneven distribution of living standards… I just also fully acknowledge that morality, justice, empathy, and treating others as a neighbor or brother that needs some assistance is both the right thing to do, as well as, growth enhancing.

  89. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 12:10

    “The country you describe is a figment of you imagination.”

    -I know. I also know it’s exactly what you want America to be.

    “Or are you one of those guys who think “certain people” are inferior?”

    -Chile is the brightest spot in Latin America, both economically and intellectually. And it’s nowhere near as rich as Puerto Rico. And Puerto Rico and New Mexico are some of the poorest regions of the U.S. I don’t think it’s plausible to just blame Spanish institutions here.

    “US population growth under Obama (0.7%/year) is the slowest since the mid-1930s.”

    -And productivity growth is the slowest since at least the 1970s.

  90. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. March 2016 at 12:16

    Student, here is your problem:

    “What you are basically saying is that rich oligarchs or power hungry thugs impose their will on people and say they want to help people unless they have to sacrifice something… at which point their true greedy nature is revealed. This is somewhat true and inherently evil.”

    No, I have made clear that this is far more egalitarian than you let on. Please read:

    https://medium.com/@morganwarstler/do-progressives-fake-naivete-94eedc4c961d#.i8zampedh

    Egalitarianism expresses itself in two ways:

    1. Equal opportunity to try and create value.
    2. Equal opportunity to determine value using your points scored in #1 (money).

    To bring your art / ideas to the world takes resources. You gotta buy paint and you gotta sell your painting for more than the paint costs. The producer is reduced to a priest who wakes and prays to god (the market) that please, pleas, please let his works be true and pleasing, may his painting be that one that everyone wants.

    So you say Oligarchs.

    I say top half.

    Who is right. Me.

    Because I can end Oligarchs TODAY and when I submit the plan to rid us of them, you will say “nope don’t want to do it”

    Here it is: Dems just have to agree to let top 20% set the tax rate on the top .1% and let the top 20% keep ALL the spoils (as tax cuts) for themselves.

    This will spread the wealth amongst the top half, creating more demand / customers for the bottom half to serve: more yoga lessons, vacations, fancy coffee, etc etc etc.

    This isn’t hard to figure out. Just admit the game is 3 player not 2, and top half are A (US), oligarchs are B (USSR) and bottom half are C (China) in Cold War.

    C’s optimal play is to routinely side with A or B, never to be taken for granted.

    You can end Oligarchs tomorrow, you just don’t get direct spoils.

    Do you or any progressive you take the deal? No. And as such, for the last 30 years the B player, the oligarchs, have eat the bottom half’s lunch. The top half, have just played to a draw, keeping their hegemony – ready to LASH OUT AND RUIN OLIGARCHS as soon as they get to keep the booty.

    Your conception of reality is flawed. Too many feelings. Too much anger. Pissed off revolt only comes when the top half says…. Let’s get rid of oligarchs and give the bottom half some jobs / demand.

    In the US, the top half is hegemony Student. write that down, don’t forget it.

  91. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 12:25

    “Your conception of reality is flawed. Too many feelings. Your conception of reality is flawed. Too many feelings. Too much anger”

    Disagree here. Empathy is never a flaw and it is totally consistent with recent developments in economic growth theory… as is Catholic social teaching in general.

    “Pissed off revolt only comes when the top half says…. Let’s get rid of oligarchs and give the bottom half some jobs / demand.”

    Agree completely with this but your 20% has now crept to the top half.

    “Dems just have to agree to let top 20% set the tax rate on the top .1% and let the top 20% keep ALL the spoils (as tax cuts) for themselves.”

    It is Reps that need to agree to that… but again you go slightly off by insisting that all of the spoils should go to the top 20%.

  92. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 12:32

    “Empathy is never a flaw”

    -Then empathize with us Trump voters for a little bit.

  93. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 12:38

    “Then empathize with us Trump voters for a little bit.”

    I do. I just wish they would focus their energy less on “the undesirables” and walls and more on the real problem… the over concentration of wealth and power in the hands of to small of a number of greedy oligarchs.

  94. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    10. March 2016 at 12:40

    Unfortunately Gary Johnson seems to be a bit of a monetary crank.

  95. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. March 2016 at 12:47

    The last thing we need is closed borders. Talk about a solution without a problem!

    Again, you either regulate the inflow, or you have no immigration policy other than Bryan Caplan’s nonsense policy. Step one re regulating the inflow is to stop the turnstile jumpers at the border and deport those you locate already here.

    The country has suffered a mild fertility deficit (tfr about 1.9) for forty-odd years. The disagreeable effects of this can be corrected by placing retirement ages on an escalator to maintain a fixed ratio of the retired to the working population, improved screening and review of disability applications, and modest immigration. Just 400,000 settlers per year would suffice to correct any extant fertility deficits. Have aspirants show up at a U.S. consulate, take a written and oral examination in the English language, submit to a medical examination, and provide some references and other data so a background investigation can be undertaken by the visa inspectorate. If they pass the screen, award them a spot in a global queue. When it’s their turn, they can immigrate. As they live and work in the U.S., they gradually acquire a claim on common provision. When they’ve spent most of their natural life in the U.S., they’re eligible for citizenship.

    You don’t need an annual inflow of 1,000,000 family chain-migrants, a five or six digit population of indentured guest workers; 80,000 ‘refugees’; 300,000 permanent tourists, and a few hundred thousand Mexican laborers just tromping across the border. You especially do not need that when 70% of them do not speak English, when they have a supernormal tendency to use public benefit programs, and when scuzzy politicians are trying to use immigrants to displace native sectors they dislkike (‘bitter clingers’).

  96. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    10. March 2016 at 12:49

    more on the real problem… the over concentration of wealth and power in the hands of to small of a number of greedy oligarchs.

    That’s not a problem. The ‘inequality’ people are bleating about is characteristic of any society more complex than an agricultural village. You’ve got some problems with the law on corporate governance and financial sector regulation. The real threat is the legal profession.

  97. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    10. March 2016 at 13:12

    This is about Gary Johnson:
    He repeatedly insists that “we are in the midst of a monetary collapse” and says he favors returning the United States to a (deflationary) metallic currency standard. He says he would have opposed TARP and allowed systemically important banks to fail.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2012-10-25/the-presidential-candidate-who-would-destroy-the-economy

    But I will still probably vote for him.

  98. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    10. March 2016 at 13:25

    @ssumner

    Talk about missing the point! It’s not about what Trump will do, it’s about WHAT HE IS.

    What is he? We agree that he’s putting on in act in public so I did that logically thing and look up how he is in private. So far we only heard from celebrities who said that he’s such a nice guy in private and that he was such a good friend during hard times. Celebrities and organizations you wouldn’t really expect it from endorse him – like Mike Tyson, Terrell Owens, Christ Christie, Tom Brady and the National Black Republican Association of the GOP. I think this is important.

    You say this isn’t important at all. Because of what? Based on what? As we said before you take is act way too seriously. You imagine some really bad policies when in fact he hasn’t enacted any policies so far. Even Hegel said “Die Wahrheit der Absicht ist nur die Tat” which roughly translates to “The truth of the intent can be found in its execution only”. You judge too prematurely and based on superficial findings. You don’t have an open mind about this.


    And what does it say about you and your friends that you are “optimistic” about a clown, a buffoon?

    I don’t know. What does it say? What does it say about your position that Gary – the hardcore Jew hater and craziest person on this blog (right after the banned one) – is pretty much the only person here that is supporting your Trump hate vigorously since the very beginning?


    I’m impressed that people so clueless about Trump read my posts on monetary policy. It shows you that there are many different types of intelligence.

    Either that or it could just mean that you have to be a Trump supporting “idiot” to love market monetarism. Why go for the complicated explanation (“many different types of intelligence”) when there’s a much simpler solution? Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.


    If Trump takes over the GOP then America has two parties, the Dems (who may soon go socialist) and the National Front. Imagine France without a center right party. Does that future appeal to you?

    I know this future already. It’s called Germany. We got four parties in our Congress. A party called “The Left” which are basically communists that want to have the GDR back because the GDR was so awesome. Then a Green Party which is just extremely crazy. Then a Social Democrats Party which is nothing more than Bernie Sanders multiplied in many ugly ways. Then a crazy Christian Party with its leader Angela Merkel, a person who is just copying the positions of the Social Democrats one-to-one since the last ten years – like minimum wages, rent control, the ban of nuclear power, the ban of GM technology, no free speech, a government-controlled media, working bans for immigrants and limitless dependence on welfare. Does this appeal to you? Then you should really come over here.

  99. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    10. March 2016 at 13:27

    Edit: What is he? We agree that he’s putting on an act in public so I did the logical thing…

    (I’m a bit tired sorry, long day).

  100. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 15:22

    “I just wish they would focus their energy less on “the undesirables” and walls and more on the real problem… the over concentration of wealth and power in the hands of to small of a number of greedy oligarchs.”

    -Interesting you hate the rich more than you like the poor. Just like Mao. Toldya guys, the Strange Utopia is precisely what Student wants. My car’s catalytic converter was actually robbed in the past year by an undesirable. Not sure what some Indian billionaire ever did to me.

    Christian, good firsthand description of Germany.

    “the hardcore Jew hater”

    -Not the case; he hates it when I point out that Judaism is more relevant than Zionism for the things he talks about.

  101. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 15:49

    Thou shalt not misrepresent or exaggerate a persons argument in order to make it easier to attack

  102. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 15:49

    Straw man fallacy

  103. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 17:01

    I didn’t misrepresent anything, Student, and if you think I did, please explain exactly what you meant, and where I supposedly went wrong in interpreting your words. Would you like to take back your words?

  104. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2016 at 17:32

    Interesting you hate the rich more than you like the poor. Just like Mao. Toldya guys, the Strange Utopia is precisely what Student wants.

    Seriously…

  105. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    10. March 2016 at 18:03

    “I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that if you are a libertarian like me, you should be very worried.”

    But you’re not a libertarian. You are a supporter of anti-libertarian anti-laissez faire activity. You are not an advocate of individual liberty. You want government to infringe on the economic liberties of the population.

    You are in fact a socialist leaning left wing statist.

  106. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    10. March 2016 at 18:14

    What worries you is not authoritarianism per se, but rather it is the form of authoritarianism that differs from yours.

    This may shock you, but when a government can print its own money, and people like you brainwash the public into believing we live in a “market” that is not adversely affected by what you consider to be “good monetary policy”, this encourages authoritarianism.

    There are of course many other factors, but the common link is the ideology that government can make society better off. All it can do in reality is use force. Redistributing real wealth and destroying real wealth.

    Thanks to people like you, there are impressionable people who believe in authoritarianism.

  107. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 18:55

    Kasich said the most dangerous thing in this debate so far: that Turkey should have entered the E.U. Well, screw him, then. Turkey must be destroyed. Trump isn’t doing well; Rubio and Cruz are, especially on Social Security. Current ranking:

    1. Trump
    2. Cruz
    3. Kasich
    4. Rubio

  108. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 18:57

    Nobody mentions Anwar al-Awlaki on killing families of terrorists. This is done all the time guys. Nobody cares about the law.

    Kasich likes both Turkey and Iran. Cruz hates Iran. Difficult to choose between them. But Turkey must be destroyed. So Kasich falls down the ranking.

  109. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 19:07

    Cruz is eerily pro-Sisi and anti-Hamas and PA. Consistent position, but a pretty strange one.

    How about America first, not Israel first? And Rubio is such a neocohen.

    Trump ends up being more pro-peace than virtually any Israeli politician. Trump 2016!

    Cruz, we are arming the Kurds, if you haven’t looked.

    Trump is right about how the U.S. “fights” IS.

  110. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 19:19

    Rubio gave a half-persuasive answer on Cuba, but advocates basically making it a U.S. colony. Trump gave an O.K. answer. Cruz lies some more.

    “Arm the freedom-fighters in Ukraine”-Kasich. Again, screw him. He’s basically a Nazi.

  111. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 19:29

    Cruz repeats “apology tour” lie. He’s a total demagogue, though a half-informed one. Trump is a very ignorant demagogue. But he’s still better than all these losers. Rubio is a very well-informed neocohen-controlled robot.

    Trump brings up Germany! Yes! Germany is devouring itself.

    Trump correctly speaks of strength as a fact, not as a good or bad thing. Of course, I have a much more positive opinion of Russia and Putin than the non-Trump candidates.

  112. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 19:46

    Trump offers a really good response on the first protestor question.

    Trump’s “pledge their support” grin is fantastic.

  113. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 19:54

    In conclusion: Rubio (and, to a lesser extent, Cruz) had a very good first half of the debate and Trump (and, to a lesser extent, Cruz and Kasich) had a very good second half of the debate. The Donald’s opening statement was very different from the others. Sometimes, self-promotion works!

  114. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    10. March 2016 at 20:03

    Kasich finishes with an ad for himself, Rubio with platitudes, Cruz with a roast of Trump (“son of a successful businessman”) and fact-free, emotion-filled condemnation of Clinton, and the Donald with a big finger pointing to independents for Trump and a point about Democratic SC justices.

  115. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    12. March 2016 at 01:27

    Why is the US different? It’s system allows an outsider to enter contest for the existing two major Parties. Elsewhere, one has to start one’s own Party, a much slower and harder task.

    Apart from that, are there not authoritarian/angry vote Parties on the rise in Europe? Yes. How much of the Vox article works if cross-referenced to Europe? Not so well, I would have thought.

    Canada and Australia are the two countries most like the US. Do they have anything similar going on? Not really; not even like Europe.

    Australia had Pauline Hanson and One Nation. The Howard Government pinched border control and comprehensively denounced all other aspects of that their platform: this worked.

    Lack of border control makes the US State seem not competent. Failure to look competent increases fear and anger, activating what the academics (clearly somewhat reluctantly) call “authoritarian” tendencies.

    Canada and Australia have effective border control. Europe and US, not so much.

    There are other economic issues where the US State does not seem competent to lots of folk.

    There has been a push to make social changes as threatening as possible: e.g. same-sex marriage means you are required to provide services to same-sex weddings (aka “wedding cake fascism”);
    if you disagree you are EVIL!;
    the need for these changes show how EVIL Amerika is.
    etc.

    If you are going to push social changes (which I mostly agree with) it is much cleverer to present them as a sign of how great America can be; not use them as a stick to show how superior you are to the denizens of flyover country.

    That the media, academia, entertainment and IT industries are so removed from mainstream public opinion has not helped many ordinary Americans feel connected, respected, etc.
    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/charts-show-the-political-bias-of-each-profession-2014-11

    Not treating the US (and particularly not the Republican Party) as sui generis leads to better analysis.

  116. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    12. March 2016 at 02:25

    On the matter of SJWs, since they want to eradicate BadThink wherever they find it (policing speech, jokes, clothing, games, entertainment, etc) they are clearly not authoritarians. They believe that error has no rights: they are totalitarians.

  117. Gravatar of Cornflour Cornflour
    12. March 2016 at 10:31

    On March 9, 2016, The Washington Post published a story entitled “Trump’s voters aren’t authoritarians, new research says. So what are they?” (http://tinyurl.com/j7rfbuw).

    The research cited in the Washington Post also neglects the widely known and well documented phenomenon of the authoritarian Left, but at least this research is more complete than the terribly one-sided papers cited in the Vox article.

    I’m not an economist, but I’ve found years of reading “The Money Illusion” to be very interesting. I know it’s not fair, but when Mr. Sumner writes about politics, it reduces his credibility in economics. Of course, it’s his blog, so he can do what he wants, but it’d probably be better if we all stuck to what we know best. (That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the reviews of movies from foreign countries. On this topic, Mr. Sumner’s seems well informed.)

  118. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. March 2016 at 14:13

    Lorenzo, It would have been nice if Trump had gone against campus political correctness, instead of poor Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

  119. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. March 2016 at 14:17

    Cornflour, Thanks for that article, very interesting. But I still think the Vox article was quite interesting as well.

  120. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    12. March 2016 at 16:59

    @Cornflour

    The research cited in the Washington Post also neglects the widely known and well documented phenomenon of the authoritarian Left,

    Good point. It’s amazing that somebody like Bernie Sanders, who wants to control huge parts of the US economy and who plans to raise taxes immensely for huge parts of the population is counted as anti-authoritarian. This is so biased.

    @Lorenzo

    Canada and Australia have effective border control. Europe and US, not so much.

    I assume geography might play a role here. Imagine a politically correct uber-friendly country like Canada having a direct border with a third world country. Canada would completely fail.

  121. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. March 2016 at 08:36


    It would have been nice if Trump had gone against campus political correctness, instead of poor Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

    When you look at the people that try to stop Trump from speaking then you’ll see that’s pretty much the same thing. It even was on an University campus.

    Except for the Chinese. You don’t see Chinese immigrants that try to stop Trump from speaking. Those people are actually polite, no matter what happens. I assume that’s why Trump is only talking about Chinese trade deals. There are close to no problems with immigrants from China.

  122. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    13. March 2016 at 10:18

    It would have been nice if Trump had gone against campus political correctness, instead of poor Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

    Are illegal immigrants ‘productive’ or are they ‘poor’? Or do you mean they’re ‘poor’ because they’re pathetic? How are they pathetic? And why is it they should have a franchise to settle here in defiance of law and policy?

  123. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    13. March 2016 at 22:57

    Scott: Actually, US Muslims are generally not poor. It is one reason why the US does not actually have much of a problem from its Muslim minority. (The other is that they are such a small minority.)

    But Trump is in the vote game; campus PC is not much of a concern out among the neglected voters he is hoovering up. Affirmative action restricting even further the small chances of their kids going to college might be more of an issue.

    Christian List: Yes, geography helps. But Australia has experimented with different policy options–geography is not destiny. On the matter of Canada, the very PC new Government announced they would take Syrian refugees — women and families only. So, PC but not stupid.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-refugee-plan-women-children-families-1.3330185

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