Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Stephen Hill and Saint.

Politics

Australian

How dumb is Liberal Frontbencher Christopher Pyne? Asked and answered at North Coast Voices.

Kevin Rennie is pessimistic about Laura Norder initiatives in the Kimberley.

Lauredhel finds another black-armband lie for Keith Windschuttle to debunk. And in a News Limited paper too. Will Rupert get Roger on this?

Today’s our last chance to plug this Larvatus Prodeo forum in Melbourne. Plugged.

Harry Clarke wonders how the left will respond to the revelations of Labor’s crooks and sharpies in the Four Corners show Dirty Sexy Money.

Tim Blair takes delight in the beneficence of Gaia.

Andrew Landeryou on how to riot and get away with it: pick a left wing cause.

Tim Dunlop and Lauredhel give kudos to an Anglican archbishop.1.  The Currency Lad notes the disingenuousness of the Archbishop’s response. Saint will no doubt take this as just another step in the deplorable pussification of the Anglican Church.

Andrew Elder flogs a dead horse.2

Image via Colin Campbell.

International

Guido looks at Silvio Berlusconi’s re-election.

Celine Dion and Barack Obama: together at last at Canadian blog Zoilus.3

Robert Merkel looks at the food crisis.

Audrey finds a story that is at once inspirational, sad and inspiring.

Ampotan (aka Bill Sakovich), gives Kevin Rudd advice on how not to deal with China.


mud is an external organ

washing line (up)

colour co-ordinated

spokes

Issues analysis

In episode 12938 of his thrilling serial “Annals of Naive Science”, dk.au looks at proposals for testing carbon sequestration technology((Must catch up with the first 12937 episodes – maybe they’re in the Google cache ~GT)).

Marcus Westbury has some suggestions on Arts policy for the 2020 summit.

While Rupert’s loyal employees are content to gloat over the internal ructions at The Age, Derek Barry puts in the hard yards to spell out exactly what’s at stake in the dispute. Perhaps Fairfax management should ask a favour of Rupert and get Roger on this.

Gummo Trotsky’s grand plan to analyse the housing affordability crisis is defeated by recalcitrant ABS data((Just another blogger taking on issues analysis and failing miserably; it happens all the time. Nothing to see here folks. ~GT)).

Mark “Oz Conservative” Richardson finishes his series on Jean Devanny with her attitudes towards liberty, science and more.


Arts

Chris Boyd offers us an e-mail exchange he had with prolific English playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn

Kerryn Goldsworthy at Australian Literature Diary opines about the appointment of a chair of Australian literature at the University of Western Australia, suggesting the boundless paper inches of commentrary from a certain Australian broadsheet had exaggerated the alleged demise (as Mark Twain would put it) of Auslit teaching in universities.

Tim SterneTrain at Sarsaparilla considers the etymological mystery of the Oompa Loompas. For those familiar with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Family maybe you can help the poor man out before we find out a little too much about Jabberwock’s flirtation with socialism. (My question, where are the female Oompa Loompas? And from the lack of females are we supposed to infer that the Oompa Lompas’ interest in garish costume and song and dance provide an indication of shared interests with a certain Jar Jar Binks, who makes the Purple Teletubby seem square in comparison.) 

Matilda reviews Emily Ballou’s Aphelion

Pavlov’s Cat throws up an interesting question about the modern novel.

‘What do you all think? Chicken Little? Or are we playing ostrich?’ Scott Walters  wonders how the cold hard economy will bite into the arts in the US.

Nicholas Pickard on fretting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, originally in Crikey.  

Alison Croggin’s play Samarkand  was aired unknown to her on ABC Radio National’s Airplay on Sunday, luckily there is a repeat 9pm Friday or right now online. Art aims to screw with your head with My Doubtful Mind,  opening Thursday at Linden Centre for Contemporary Art in St Kilda where the artists take aim at phobias in a variety of ways. 

Stephanie Trigg plays “spot the palimpsest” at the State Library of Victoria’s Medieval Manuscripts exhibition4.


Snark, strangeness and charm

Should Rupert get Roger on this?

David Bath is intrigued by the possibility that testosterone drives financial markets. No doubt someone will come up with a way to test this experimentally, using vervet monkeys or barbary apes. Or rats.

  1. No doubt they can’t give students kudos for standover tactics against a headmaster enforcing the rules ~ saint []
  2. Just like the Liberal Party.~gilmae []
  3. I rescued this item from the arts section because it’s a really excellent post analysing the psychology of “heartland” America in the context of Obama’s recent clumsy “elitist” remarks. ~ KP []
  4. There is absolutely no truth to the rumour that the exhibition will finish with a parchment-dart throwing competition. ~GT []

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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TimT
13 years ago

Tim Sterne at Sarsaparilla considers the etymological mystery of the Oompa Loompas.

Ahem. That would be TimT. Check the bit where it says ‘guest post’, and the link back to my blog where I cross-posted it. I mailed Tim (S) asking him if it would be suitable for a Sars guest post.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

I take it you’d rather I did my pigeon-catting elsewhere Ken.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

The ultra-left rioters – some of them associated with the notoriously corrupt University of Melbourne Student Union…

Oh, the irony! Totally gob-smacked here.

gilmae
13 years ago

I believe the more honest expression, would be “shit-stirring”, Ken. Although, who exactly is the stiree? Let’s be honest, Gummo was pulling your pig tails, Ken, and pushing you over and calling you names. I think he has a crush :- )

saint
13 years ago

Er excuse me Ken.

Could we kind of skip the shoot the messenger part?

As editor you can remove any link you don’t like or kick me out of the Troppo cabal. And as you yourself noted, you left it in because it gave you an opportunity to have one of your deeply civil spits.

Plus, I don’t think too many bloggers complain of lively comments threads.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

No worries Ken – sorry I omitted the link.

What caught my attention about the Marohasy post was the delightful irony of Marohasy’s pointed mention of the fact that Peter Boyer’s criticisms of her appeared in a Murdoch paper, and her representation of him as a “columnist” for that paper. If that was intended as an ad hom attack on his credibility, it’s pretty laughable. So is recycling the same old same old as rebuttal. And it was pure unadulterated snark too.

Pigeon-catting in this context is setting the cat among the pigeons, as in any other context – incorrigible ramping in other words. Guess I can save that “scientist-emeritus” tag for another time.

On Landeryou – yup. ’nuff said.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

Lets be honest, Gummo was pulling your pig tails, Ken, and pushing you over and calling you names. I think he has a crush :- )

That’s a disturbing thought.

Im making it absolutely clear that we wont be highlighting any more [misleading dishonest propaganda] under any circumstances and for whatever reason including shit-stirring.

Although addressed to saint, that point obviously applies to yours truly as well, so point taken.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

KP:

I rescued this item from the arts section

Some revealed bias in that Ken ;) ?

that said, I agree, it was too good a post for the Arts section :)

saint
13 years ago

Well Ken,

I am impressed at your mind readng abilities. I suggest you don’t give up your day job.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

BTW, the link about “Celine Dion and Barack Obama” is an especially good read, as is the paper it links to about “What’s the matter with Kansas”: http://journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/files/willis-tomfrank.pdf

I wouldn’t have looked at it if it weren’t for your sidenote Ken, so thanks for that!

Kevin Rennie
13 years ago

I didn’t mean to sound completely pessimistic or cynical about the law and order issues especially for indigenous people. There are things happening to lower the supply side of the justice system. They just need to be emphasised and beefed up. The provision of the second magistrate for the Kimberley and extension of legal aid support will definitely speed up things, which is a positive all round. Moves to address alcohol related problems and their related social and criminal consequences are cause for some optimism. So are the initiatives for more employment and training.

Amanda
13 years ago

I put the Barack link in originally — Zoilus is a one of my fave music blogs. His (Carl Wilson) book on Celine Dion is excellent — even, and especially, if you hate Celine.

saint
13 years ago

Ken,

Thanks again for noting views about GW that I may have. What are my views exactly?

And are you saying that if someone writes a particularly good, well argued, thoughtful or even entertaining piece on creationism (to use your example) it is off limits to all Cabal editors?

For the record. After Gummo added a RW link with a note of apology to me in a previous pre-publication edition of ML, I removed the note and emailed him to say I don’t have any issue with others who may want to add, amend or delete my links to right wing blogs and/or my comments. I don’t consider it my “turf” to be defended at all costs.

You yourself have informed others of the subjective nature of our selections on many occasions. I didn’t realise however, that adding a link to ML is somehow evidence that you hold or endorse the views of that blog post, that it also meant you become responsible for other editors amendments/annotations to your contributions, and that it gives Ken Parish open season to question you motivations. Duh me.

Next time I must remember to prepare a submission for the Inquisition

Yes you targetted me unfairly, although it seems to reveal that you really cannot get past that Marohasy link which YOU my friend, were happy to include as it gave you a chance to resurrect a dead horse for another flogging. And you have persisted in throwing barbs my way even after I explained to you that I remain largely ignorant of GW issues and am only fascinated by the quasi-religious aspects revealed by the public debate.

No problems it’s your blog, Ken. Own it then. But don’t think you own my own personal opinions and motivations to the point of formulating them for me.

In the meantime, and for as long as I remain in the Troppo Cabal, I would appreciate a list of all the topics/bloggers you deem off limits.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

NPOV, that article was pretty good. But Tom Frank’s book is complete rubbish. It is painful evidence of the problem the article identifies with pig-ignorant progressives trying to understand something as alien as ‘a culture’, as opposed to mere ‘culture’, which is the sole domain of progressives.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick, I haven’t read Tom Frank’s book, but “rubbish” seems unfair, from what I’ve read about it. No-one that I’m aware of has really adequately addressed his central point that a significant percentage of American voters have being voting for a party that shows no willingness to specifically look out for their financial interest (even if you buy the line that unbridled capitalism is the best way to ensure that everybody automatically ends up better off in the end). His theory on why that might be is almost certainly inadequate, but I’m not so sure it’s completely off the mark.
Further, many of Ellen Willis’ criticisms about the simplications Frank make seem to work on the assumption that his thesis applied across all of America, rather than only to fairly specific (but still substantial) parts of it.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Er, no?

His thesis assumes that Democratic policies would be better for American farmers and ex-industrial workers than Republican policies. This is not at all clear. When it comes down to it, his theory on this seems to be that working class voters should be stupid enough to accept that since Democrats are more committed to unions, shackled trade and redistribution, their policies are automatically better for poor Americans.

Further, he then goes on to assume that these voters are irrationally putting their cultural interests ahead of their economic interests. This is the real doozy. It beggars belief that a progressive of all people can simply assume, without further analysis, that it is in any way weird to put cultural well-being ahead of financial well-being. The implicit thesis is that only well-off educated professional progressives could be so sophisticated as to think that money isn’t everything.

The irony is priceless.

Also, that demonstrates the kind of complete misunderstanding that saw unions goggle when Howard ‘discovered’ the aspirational voter – their target audience, who had forgotten they existed.

Finally, his ‘thesis’, although that is a very fancy word for ‘idea I came up with chatting with a few progressive friends last evening’, is that poor and working class voters are being doddled in to supporting Republicans by dog-whistle appeals to issues such as religion and gun rights. But these aren’t ‘dog-whistles’!! On the whole the Democrats actually do hold the positions imputed to them, and the Republicans vice versa. Also, see above re not understanding importance of ‘cultural’ issues.

If anyone has a better defence of Franks’ arguments than his own, I’m all ears (or eyes). Until then, I think it is bollocks!

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Actually there is a reasonable amount of evidence that in general Democrat economic policies have been better for the working classes of the U.S. – indeed, they’ve generally been better for the country as a whole over the last few decades. They’re just as much pro-capitalism as the Republicans, but also embrace policies that promote social justice and assistance for those most in need of it.

And, yes, it is irrational to vote for a government based on cultural issues: for a start, how does it benefit anyone personally to have a government that goes around controlling what other people are allowed to do with their bodies and their personal lives? It’s one thing to have strong reservations about the behaviour of others, and quite another to vote for a government that promises to enact policies to control that behaviour: i.e., to believe that somehow that authoritarian edicts that apply to everybody in the country are the way to improve your own “cultural well-being”. If you want to improve your cultural well-being, join a community group whose values you share.

As far as the extent to which the Republican party is specifically attempting to “brainwash” voters into voting for them on the basis of religious beliefs etc., I think Ellen Willis correctly points out that hasn’t been the super-successful strategy Frank obviously thinks it has been. Other studies have shown that the purported drift from voting Democratic to voting Republican among the Mid-western white working-classes that Frank primarily discusses is not backed up by the stats anyway, so there are definitely rather large holes in his thesis.
But to me “bollocks” or “rubbish” implies that Frank had no idea what he was talking about and that his book failed to give any useful insight into recent political demographic changes in the U.S., which seems overly harsh. At the very least it sparked an interesting debate.

Helen
13 years ago

Memo to Harry Clark – “Left” does not equal “votes Labor”. I’ll put my hand up as someone who has written a post or two hammering Labor and I’m about to do it again. Not in a way that will please you, however. ;-)

Graham Bell
Graham Bell
13 years ago

Ken Parish:

Thanks a lot for that Ampotan link on how not to deal with China. :-)

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

NPOV,

At the very least it sparked an interesting debate.

Perhaps at the most. But I will give it that.

And, yes, it is irrational to vote for a government based on cultural issues: for a start, how does it benefit anyone personally to have a government that goes around controlling what other people are allowed to do with their bodies and their personal lives?

You are obviously ill-positioned to comment on this!! What about abortion? What if you happen to believe that second-trimester abortion is murder? Would you agree with state sanctioning of murder? What about gay marriage? Some people genuinely believe this is wrong – I will believe that they are unjustified in factoring this into their voting when you agree that the minimum wage is an unjustified state intrusion on private morality.

What about resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible? Isn’t that reason enough not to vote for them – I assume you agree that votes should ultimately be based on respect for the candidate?

Actually there is a reasonable amount of evidence that in general Democrat economic policies have been better for the working classes of the U.S. – indeed, theyve generally been better for the country as a whole over the last few decades.

I presume this is a reference to this graph
It is not really what you think – Alex Tabarrok believes it is merely evidence of the partisan business cycle theory:
In a nutshell, the theory of partisan business cycles says that Democrats care more about reducing unemployment, Republicans care more about reducing inflation. Wage growth is set according to expected inflation in advance of an election. Since which party will win the election is unknown wages growth is set according to a mean of the Democrat (high) and Republican (low) expected inflation rates. If Democrats are elected they inflate and real wages fall creating a boom. If Republicans are elected they reduce inflation and real wages rise creating a bust. Notice that in PBC theory neither party creates a boom or bust it’s uncertainty which drives the result – if the winning party were known there would be neither boom nor bust.

Tyler Cowen thinks it is mainly about monetary policy (which looks like much the same thing as PBC) has a pretty good argument in support of that, and a typically catchy summary:

So Bartels could have entitled his key graph: “Democratic Presidents live for the short run and we need a Republican President every now and then.”

Even Paul Krugman (via Tyler) remains sceptical:

Even though I believe that politics has a big effect on income distribution, this is just too strong and too immediate for me to see how it can be done.

Note also these graphs, from Bartels.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I happen to believe that we should do everything we can to reduce abortion. The countries with the lowest abortion rates (The Netherlands & Belgium) are NOT countries that ban it; in fact they make it fairly easy to access. The anti-abortion movement has never shown any real interest in measures that actually work at lowering abortion rates.

As far as gay marriage goes, again, there is no evidence from countries where gay marriages (or gay civil ceremonies) have been the norm for many many years that it has had any impact on heterosexual marriage. Further, I personally think it’s wrong for a 20yo girl to marry an 80 year old man, but I don’t accept there should be laws preventing it – it’s not really any of my business and has no bearing on my “cultural well-being”.

As for refusing to vote for “resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible”, fine, but which party is that exactly?

As for the whole whether Democrats-have-been-better-for-the-poor-than-the-Republicans debate, I don’t really feel fully qualified to enter into it here, but I will happily defend the argument that GWB was voted in by a large number of people who have suffered considerably due to his mismanagement of the economy.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

Tom Franks book is complete rubbish. It is painful evidence of the problem the article identifies with pig-ignorant progressives trying to understand something as alien as a culture, as opposed to mere culture, which is the sole domain of progressives.

What about resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible? Isnt that reason enough not to vote for them – I assume you agree that votes should ultimately be based on respect for the candidate?

Thanks for demonstrating that pig-ignorant dumb-asses can be found across the whole of the political spectrum. A much needed boost to my faith in human nature, that was.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

NPOV, I don’t care what your actual opinion on the issues is for present purposes (although we are broadly in agreement). The point is that other people, besides you, might find these issues a reason to vote one way or the other.

Ie, would you vote for someone who proposed to outlaw abortion entirely and make gay marriage a crime? Or would economics trump your values? If the answer to the second question is No, Franks’ thesis is crap, if it is Yes, well, fair enough, you are entitled to think that Franks is on to something.

Gummo, I’m sorry you don’t like my hyberbole. It was a bit much, I admit! But I wouldn’t dispute your conclusion.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I don’t dispute that people do consider their feeling that abortion or gay marriage is “wrong” a reason to vote for a particular party, but it’s still irrational.

I knowingly voted for a party last election that most likely would be, at best, rather average economic managers (the Greens), so does that answer your question?
(to be honest, if I genuinely believed they were likely to get into power and implement some of their more economically damaging policies, I wouldn’t have voted for them, not out of any concern for my own financial security, but for those that can least afford any sort of economic downturn).
OTOH, if I genuinely believed that, for instance, the ALP had an economic plan that would dramatically improve the prosperity of all Australians, but were also planning to outlaw abortion, I would have a very hard time bringing myself to vote for them, given the potentially awful effects of criminalised abortion.

But look, at the end of the day, most voters aren’t particularly rational. They vote for the party that they generally perceive to be acting in their personal (short-term) interest. To a certain degree, Frank’s point is that a lot of Republican-voters don’t even seem to be doing that, given the Republican party has little recent history of even appearing to act in their interest.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

WTF?? I agree with you, but I refuse to??? And to conclude, A, but not A?

When you vote, he considers that values often, if not always, trump economics. Presumably, you do this on a rational basis – you certainly suggest a rational calculus when you refer to ‘the potentially awful effects of criminalised abortion’.

Let’s break this down a bit:

But look, at the end of the day, most voters arent particularly rational.

Except you?

They vote for the party that they generally perceive to be acting in their personal (short-term) interest.

Which is still rational, just not on all the same premises as you (which is kinda our whole point here!). Also, refer Tyler’s summary of those Bartels graphs above:

Democratic Presidents live for the short run and we need a Republican President every now and then.

So maybe they are voting rationally even by your lights, and you have just got the critical premise (which party is good for the long-term) wrong.

To a certain degree, Franks point is that a lot of Republican-voters dont even seem to be doing that, given the Republican party has little recent history of even appearing to act in their interest.

Well, except I thought we had just agreed that one’s values are in one’s interests? As a conclusion (for Franks) that does a great job of begging the question one would have expected him to be asking (ie, what is important to working class voters?).

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

No, I don’t accept that voting for parties that promise to ban activities you believe are morally questionable is voting in your own self-interest.
How would it be in my interest to vote for a party that promised to outlaw 80yo males marrying 20yo females?

OTOH, if there was solid evidence that, for instance, banning abortion was actually likely to help reduce the rate at which innocent foetuses were being “murdered”, and not at all likely to result in the death of anyone making use of backyard abortion clinics, then voting for a candidate that was actually genuinely committed to outlawing abortion could be defended on rational grounds (though there’s still not a lot of self-interest involved).

And yes, I am claiming I’m more rational than the average voter – as is surely almost every poster here. That doesn’t make us better people, but the fact that we actually a) spend time discussing policies b) actually care about policy surely makes us more likely to make a rational choice at the ballot box than the majority of Australians who tend to ignore politics for the most part (which was me too until relatively recently).

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Oh, and no, having a general perception that a particularly government is likely to act in your “personal (short-term) interest” is not being rational.
As an example, anyone that voted for the ALP on the basis that it promised to reduce petrol prices was surely not being particularly rational. The only way the government could feasibly reduce petrol prices is to scrap existing fuel taxes, which a) it obviously isn’t going to do and b) if actually did would have pretty obviously undesirable long-term consequences for Australia as a whole.

saint
13 years ago

That was me who added ampotan and I got that link from Tim Blair’s blog.

Huzzah one happy customer.

Fyodor
13 years ago

And yes, I am claiming Im more rational than the average voter

Let me get this straight: you’re in the small minority of people who vote for the Green party, despite its espousal of policies you think are economically damaging, while those irrationally average punters vote for parties that actually promise to do something for them that they want. And you cast your vote their way on the basis that you knew the Greens were NOT going to get in. If they had a chance of getting in, you wouldn’t have voted for them. So you knowingly wasted your vote. And you think that you’re more rational?

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

gilmae
13 years ago

So you knowingly wasted your vote

The major parties – although let’s face, in this case I mean the ALP – know that there are going to be first preferences votes going to the Greens and make a deal to get the Greens to encourage their voters to preference the ALP later. In making that deal the ALP make some concession to the Greens. And everybody knows the concessions are going to be environment related, not economic.

By voting for minor parties first, those voters encourage the major parties to treat with the minor parties. Seems basically rational to me.

Besides, you have to vote informally to knowingly waste your vote in Australia.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

What gilmae said. I most likely wouldn’t vote Greens first if we didn’t have preferential voting.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

FFS!

No, I dont accept that voting for parties that promise to ban activities you believe are morally questionable is voting in your own self-interest.

The question was a bit stronger than your example – murder is not ‘morally questionable’, and some people do believe that abortion is murder. Ie, would you vote for a party that promised to criminalise abortion? No, because you are voting with your values. What about a party that promised to decriminalise murder of adults? You might hesitate a minute before voting, might you not?

I’m still not interested in what you think a rational position is, we can talk about that another day. I’m interested in the process of decision-making, not the premises as such.

Your last paragraph makes the same mistake. You are claiming to be a more informed voter – OTT there is a serious argument that by informing yourself to that degree you are acting less rationally – but again, that doesn’t demonstrate that the poor old working-class Kansan is not entering into a rational calculus based on sufficient information. My proposition is that for some, if not many, voters, it is sufficient information to know that candidate A wants to legalise abortion(murder) to rationally not vote for them.

Oh, and no, having a general perception that a particularly government is likely to act in your personal (short-term) interest is not being rational.

Not, again, what I meant. I meant that the graphs seemed to show that voting Democrat was in Americans’ short-term interests but voting Republican was in their long-term interest.

Fyodor
13 years ago

The major parties – although lets face, in this case I mean the ALP – know that there are going to be first preferences votes going to the Greens and make a deal to get the Greens to encourage their voters to preference the ALP later. In making that deal the ALP make some concession to the Greens. And everybody knows the concessions are going to be environment related, not economic.

Naturally, because environmental policies don’t affect the economy. Are we getting more rational now, or less?

John Greenfield
John Greenfield
13 years ago

In fact if preferential voting were abandoned The Greens would vanish overnight.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Fyodor, if you can’t distinguish between the relatively mild effect that any environmental policy influence the Greens might have on a major party would have on the economy and the rather significant effect that implementing actual Greens economic policy would have, then I’m fairly sure it’s not me lacking in the rationality department.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick, I wouldn’t necessarily mind classifying late-term abortion as murder, but with the acceptance that killing another human being in self-defence is NOT murder, and most of the reasons that mothers have for terminating late-term pregnancies could reasonably be classified as “self-defence”. But I’ve seen no evidence that those who vote for Republicans because they believe that “abortion is murder” have put that amount of thought into the issue, or indeed much evidence that they genuinely care that innocent foetuses are being killed at all. And at the end of the day, it really is a little foolish to believe that the Republicans are likely to ever criminalise abortion.

And yes, I’m well aware of the axiom that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, but more important is an open mind and an acceptance that the knowledge you have is likely to be complete.

On that basis, I’m willing to keep an open mind on the degree to which Republican vs Democrat governments in the U.S. have actually implemented policies that produce better results for the working classes. But the evidence that I am aware of fairly strongly suggests that Democrat governments have in general done a better job, the odd anomaly of recent election-year results aside. What, however, would disprove Frank’s thesis is some sort of evidence that the working-classes that have supposedly voting against their financial interests did actually have good reason to believe that Republican party policies were in fact in their best financial interests after all. I’m not aware of whether any relevant studies have been done in this area.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

JG, au contraire, if preferential voting were replaced by a proportional system, the Greens would have actually a significant amount of political power.

Fyodor
13 years ago

Fyodor, if you cant distinguish between the relatively mild effect that any environmental policy influence the Greens might have on a major party would have on the economy and the rather significant effect that implementing actual Greens economic policy would have, then Im fairly sure its not me lacking in the rationality department.

The issue isn’t whether I can distinguish between their policies, but whether you can. The point is salient because you’re giving the Greens your vote to influence the major parties, without having any real ability to predict how they will use that influence. And this despite having already stated that they have some policies you consider to be very dangerous, so dangerous in fact that you wouldn’t trust the Greens in government. As I implied earlier, this doesn’t strike me as a decision of above-average rationality. On the contrary, it seems to me that this is the woolly-headed thinking of people inclined to vote on emotion and symbolism rather than on a rational assessment of what they want from government.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I think the major parties have some pretty dangerous policies too. The difference with the Greens is that their more dangerous policies are highly unlikely to ever be implemented for a variety of reasons. Further, even their most dangerous policies are not going to destroy the country. We have a functioning democracy, and if it became clear that they were incapable of government, they would be booted out soon enough.

My ability to predict in what ways the Greens are likely to be able to influence the major parties is no worse than my ability to predict exact how the major parties will actually act once in power, and what effect their actions will have on the country. All I do know is that the only party that happens to be standing up for various policies changes I believe our country needs is the Greens (actually, the LDP qualifies too, but a) I had no option to vote for them and b) there’s very little reason to believe they are likely to have any influence at all over the major parties. Plus their most dangerous policies are, IMO, far worse than the Green’s most dangerous ones).

gilmae
13 years ago

Naturally, because environmental policies dont affect the economy.

And? It’s irrational to think that the economic impacts of one policy are an acceptable compromise between competing principals, but another is not? Oh, right, because I can’t predict – I don’t have complete knowledge of – what the Greens will ask for. Then again, I don’t have complete knowledge of what either of the major parties will do a year after they win government, but I have some fair idea based on their core ideas. The same with the Greens; if I give my first preference to the Greens I am making a calculated risk that what they’ll ask of the major parties in return for their preferences will be those policies I think are acceptable compromise and not the ludicrous arse-hattery.

Every party, even the majors, have some dumb shit in their policy portfolios as well as stuff I like. I order my preferences towards those parties whose guiding principals are the policies I like. I’ll vote for the Greens even if their purely economic policies are stupid, but I’ll never vote for a Communist party even if they have environmental policies. If that’s irrational than so is voting for any party and representative democracy because I can never accurately predict what they will do between elections.

Golly, I seem to have considered what my vote means and taken action based on those thoughts. How irrational.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Naturally, because environmental policies dont affect the economy.

Just a thought, but this might have been a sarcastic comment. Consider the next line:

Are we getting more rational now, or less?

Fyodor
13 years ago

My ability to predict in what ways the Greens are likely to be able to influence the major parties is no worse than my ability to predict exact how the major parties will actually act once in power, and what effect their actions will have on the country.

It is (or should be) quite clear that you have a much better idea of how the major parties will act once in power, because they have a reasonable chance of winning power and are – generally – expected to prosecute their policies. The Greens, however, have no such chance and, further, it’s difficult to predict where their influence will be expended and/or effective, so your ability to predict their influence on government is FAR WORSE.

All I do know is that the only party that happens to be standing up for various policies changes I believe our country needs is the Greens

Now that’s a far more rational argument. If you believe the Greens’ policies, in aggregate (and despite your disagreement with some of them individually), are what you want, then voting to give the Greens more influence on government is far more defensible in terms of rational voting.

However, that was not your original position (at #29), which was that you would not vote for the Greens if they were likely to get into power. So either you do believe their policies, in aggregate, warts & all, would be good for Australia, or you don’t. You decide.

Golly, I seem to have considered what my vote means and taken action based on those thoughts. How irrational.

Not at all, Gilmae. You’ve argued NPOV’s case far more rationally than he did. That’s the point. Perhaps you’re the more-rational-than-average punter.

jc
jc
13 years ago

Futhermore if he thinks the Greens have very damaging economic policies their influence on the government is unlikely to be positive.

Liam
Liam
13 years ago

Fyodor, you’re challenging NPOV with two different meanings of voter rationality. He’s not articulate, but you’re not helping.
“Rationality” if a vote is for measurable economic self-interest is different to “rationality” in the sense of a political standpoint. Even if NPOV thinks the Greens are potentially economically damaging, his(?) vote is rational if he’s deliberately using a preference vote to play the electoral game. Poor Americans who vote for Republicans who cut the taxes of the rich aren’t irrational; they’re deluded, which is a different category altogether.
Of course a vote without coherence or self-interest is by definition irrational. Having scrutineered many a ballot, I can tell you there’s far more of them than you think.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Well I’ll certainly agree that gilmae has argued my case more articulately.

Fyodor, what I said regarding the Greens was that “if I genuinely believed they were likely to get into power and implement some of their more economically damaging policies” that I wouldn’t vote for them.

While I admit it’s hard thing to prove, I don’t think it’s irrational to take the position that the Green’s “more economic damaging policies” are very unlikely to be implemented, or even to have much influence on the policies of a major party that relies on the Greens for preference votes. OTOH, there are grounds for believing that their stance on various environmental and social justice issues is likely to have some influence on the ALP’s policymaking.

And no, I don’t accept my ability to predict the outcome of “major party in power, significantly dependent on Green’s preference votes” is “far worse” than my ability to predict the outcome of “major party in power, minimal dependence on Green’s preferences votes”. Sure, there are more variables in play, but basically I think it’s safe to say that the net policy influence that the Greens are realistically likely to have on the ALP is going to “for the better” (according to my own preferences of course).