Category Archives: Public Choice

Maybe we’re so partisan because America is worse, or at least more difficult

Five not thought through theories on why people are flocking to Trump, Clinton, Moore, etc, and movements based on hashtags

  • It is a natural reaction to either tribal identities getting more fun in the age of the internet/social media (we’re all performance artists now).  The tribal identity is improving relative to the American identity
  • The American identity is getting worse in the age of the internet, i.e. we’re closer to the bad parts, and we’re farther away from the good parts.  The “cost” of being American first (in Hoffer’s use of the term, and sort of my grandfather’s) has increased
  • The notion of  an “American” identity has hidden requirements, namely dispersed income growth that are no longer there
  • The notion of an “American” identity was a historical quirk caused by the world wars that is slowly washing away, leaving us with our regional differences
  • Identity politics is easy, and we’re just way lazier and sedentary than before.  Ideology requires work.

Just some thoughts after reading this essay by Kevin Williamson, specifically

The Republican party took the lead in seeing off both American slavery and worldwide Communism under the leadership of men including Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The most today’s Republican party can say for itself is: “You can’t prove our guy was a serial molester of adolescent girls! That’s up to the people of Alabama to decide.”

Wars in the Middle East are officially a vested interest

I read this article on CNN.com

White House taps general for ‘war czar’ post
President Bush has chosen Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Pentagon’s director of operations, to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a “war czar” after a long search for new leadership, administration officials said Tuesday.

In the newly created position, Lute would serve as an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser, and would also maintain his military status and rank as a three-star general, according to a Pentagon official.

and was reminded of this Albert Jay Nock quote:

Experience has made it clear beyond doubt or peradventure that prohibition in the United States is not a moral issue; it is not essentially, even, a political issue; it is a vested interest.

and this H.L. Mencken quote:

The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.

We have this horrible tendency in our culture to see the means (a big new bureaucracy) as an end in itself, nay, an achievement. What endeavor has failed because there are too few managers? The right managers, sure, lots of failures due to a lack of them. But too few?

Plus an additional bureaucracy just creates it’s own principal-agent and knowledge problems.

Functionally Lute will probably serve as a dedicated adviser, but why the title Czar? All of the Russian Czars were an odd combination of stagnant, incompetent and murderous. Why is that some role model.

Sigh.