Missing Link Friday – Lies, liberty & inequality

Un-occupy: Nearly 70 students walked out of Greg Mankiw’s economics class at Harvard on Wednesday afternoon. According to the Harvard Crimson’s Jose Delreal, "The walkout was meant to be a show of support for the ‘Occupy’ movement’s principal criticism that conservative economic policies have increased income inequality in the United States." Sinclair Davidson comments.

What did they miss? "Ironically, the topic for today’s lecture is the distribution of income, including the growing gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent", writes Greg Mankiw.

Are you in Australia’s top 1 percent? "According to the ATO’s tax statistics, if you earned $248 192 or more in 2008-09, you were part of the top 1%", writes Matt Cowgill.

Conservatives and freedom: "The Tea Party alliance between libertarians and conservatives gives the misleading impression that conservatives care about individual freedom", writes the Philosopher’s Beard.

Why Will Wilkinson isn’t a liberal: "I’ve come to accept … that diffuse cultural forces, such as racism or sexism or nationalism or intergenerational poverty, can deprive an individual of her rightful liberty without any single person doing anything to violate her basic rights. This takes me a long way toward standard liberalism. But I find that my gut nevertheless leans right on issues of personal responsibility." Will Wilkinson at the Moral Sciences Club.

Keeping the state out of your bedroom: Libertarians say they want to keep the state out of your bedroom. John Quiggin doesn’t believe them.

Lying to ourselves: According to psychologists, "self-deception evolved so that we can effortlessly tell lies without getting caught." And that’s a good thing, says Chris Campbell.

Tim Blair on vegetarianism : Back in 2008 Tim Blair linked to a story claiming "Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain – with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage." Sandy Szwarc wasn’t convinced.

Scientists explain Tim Blair: "You would think we would admire do-gooders who are truly motivated by morals, values and beliefs. But you would be wrong. Recent research compares the attitudes of meat eaters to vegetarians. Meat eaters don’t really like vegetarians. We think they judge us. So we make fun of them." Rita Handrich, The Jury Room.

Irrationality virus spreads to Australia: The Australian conservative movement is becoming infected by an irrationality virus, writes Harry Clarke. It’s "a development which threatens both its intellectual viability and our future."

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conrad
conrad
10 years ago

Thanks, the Sandy Szwarc link is great — although almost irrelevant to the article, the African honey bee graph is hilarious.

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

Wow, Quiggin’s post just boggles the mind with its stupidity.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

They were a bit hard on Greg, obviously have never read his text book

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

If they think Keynes is a substitute for Smith they obviously have never read either

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

Pretty much Jacques, clearly there are potential conflicts between rights and so there needs to be agreed rules. Should your property rights allow you to shoot a trespasser or include a lease covenant against acts potentially leading to miscegenation? Clearly the social context of the time will lead to different answers to those questions. That doesn’t make libertarianism wrong or stupid. All philosophical positions can be reduced to the absurd if you try hard enough.

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

Hard cases make bad law. Should we read into Quiggin’s argument that the State should get in your bedroom?

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

It’s not even a hard case. It’s a confection based on a delusion of moral superiority, an undergraduate “gotcha” fail. The argument is wrong because it is not the State in the bedroom, it is B enforcing the lease covenant. The State is only involved to the extent required to enforce the bargain and so is a minimal actor. There is no libertarian conception of the state in which the state actively checks on compliance with bargains.

As it happens, the nutty-lib fringe has an answer, which is the private enforcement of contractual rights through a dressed-up version of see you behind the dunny at little lunch.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

Some may hope it is a hard case Pedro

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

Don’t worry Homer, even wicked old me is in favour of banning discrimination of that sort.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

” Liberals believe that freedom for individuals is best provided through society, in the form of institutions and resources, and also restrictions that enable more valuable choices for more people (like minimum wage or work safety laws). ”

Good illustration of how hard it is to sensibly write that rules make us free.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

This is the good bit

“I agree that many people are in dire straits and suffering for absolutely no fault of their own, and that policies ought to be in place to provide meaningful material assistance. Still, I find I want an ethos of effort and individual responsibility to prevail, and I continue to think people who chose their way into trouble need to be told exactly what Welch seems to be telling the OWS folk: we’re not going to feel too sorry for you if you made some bad decisions about taking out mortgages and/or student loans, even if everybody you knew was making them too.”

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

Don’t worry JJ, once Obama the socialist moves back to Kenyan where he’s from, tax cuts to the rich are given so as to solve the problem with the government’s small tax base, the theory of plate tectonics is finally disproved so you can stop hearing about how white people came out of Africa (god how scientists have lied all this time), you get rid of gay teachers in schools (they’re corrupting the kiddies, after all), and probably a few other things I’ve missed, everything will be fine. Jesus said so after all.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

Do you mean like the Muslim Obama terrorist?

Tel
Tel
10 years ago

Libertarians say they want to keep the state out of your bedroom.

I wanna keep everyone out of my bedroom.

Hmmmm… on second thoughts…

brainfan
brainfan
10 years ago

Sandy Schwarz is a tool who barely has half a grasp on what she posts about. Also, anyone who hosts a blog about contentious issues and does not allow commenting is an intellectual coward.

Fyodor
10 years ago

“What is it about banking conspiracies and antisemitism?”

Banking conspiracies? We are talking about the financial anal gang bang of the Western world. We are talking a scale of looting that is in the 20-30 trillion dollar level as to its magnitude. Now its inevitable that there will be an explosion of anti-semitism when this has gone unpunished. Because we look to who is running things now in the US, and it gives people the impression, rightly or wrongly, that the place is becoming a Jewish-run tyranny.

The bankers choose the representatives now through bribery known as campaign contributions. I don’t think anyone ought to lie about this after what happened after the first TARP scam attempt was voted down. Blankfeins boys just openly went and bribed and threatened everyone. Then they had a second vote. So these are bankers representatives we have here for all practical purposes.

And lets look at the composition of some of these banker representatives:

Joseph Lieberman chairs Homeland Security. Barney Frank chairs Finance. Carl Levin chairs armed services. Sander Levin chairs the House Ways and Means committee. Barbara Boxer chairs Senate committee for public works. Henry Waxman chairs the senate committee for commerce. Dianne Feinstein chairs the Senate committee for intelligence. Howard Berman chairs the house foreign relations committee.

People the world over are beginning to notice that the takedown and rapid destruction of the US is being presided over in the context of Jewish dominance. Whoever the shadow government is they must really hate normal Jews if they are affecting to have these clowns ruin everything for everyone. Its not as if these guys are there on merit. We are talking about massive incompetence of an almost surreal nature.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

how come Fyodor sounds like a little birdy?

because that what he is

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

Oh well, the more famous Fyodor (Dostoevsky) was a bit of an anti-semite

JC
JC
10 years ago

Bird

What page of the Learned Elders of Zion are you up to?

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

It’s the protocols of the elders of zion! Sheesh JC, can’t even get your anti-semitism straight. What is the world coming to? ;-)

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

Protocol one day, David Icke and the lizard men the next.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

Yes that Fyodor does sound an awful lot like Bird. But he’s using Fyodor’s email address so I don’t really want to add it to the banned list. God knows how he got Fyodor’s email address because it isn’t displayed on Troppo. I can only assume Fyodor must at one time have been silly enough to post a comment on Bird’s blog.

BTW I’ve banned Bird’s most recent (before Fyodor) avatar “jimmy-jive”. May I suggest that you all adhere to the standard “don’t feed the trolls” advice?

JC
JC
10 years ago

Oh yea, It’s the Protocols….

He seems to be having a real hissy fit over Wall street and thems Jews, Pedro/Jason.

I nicely informed him that if you look at the current crop of Wall Street CEO’s you could in fact suggest it’s perhaps a conspiracy within a conspr=iracy to try and hide the fact Jews are running Wall Street. There’s only possible CEO of Jewish origins in the whole cohort.

Go through them.

Bank of America. Brian Monihan… ummm my guess is Irish background.

JPMorgan. Jamie Diamond… Greek back background. Funny tidbit. His dad works there as a broker and he’s in his 80’s. There a broker’s desk populated by 80 year olds servicing their clients. Imagine.

Wells Fargo…John G. Stumpf Sounds German origin I’d say.

Citigroup…Vikram Pandit.. Indian.

State Street … jay hooley Irish

Morgan Stanley… Steve Gorman. Australian.. German background.

Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein

Largest hedge fund in the world… Bridgewater..Run by Ray Dalio. Sounds Italian. And he’s off his head.

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

Ken
Same way he was able to pose as me including using my avatar at one stage – because I’ve been silly enough to post a comment on Bird’s blog in the past using my real email address trusting in his basic decency, putting aside the looniness.

JC
JC
10 years ago

But he’s using Fyodor’s email address so I don’t really want to add it to the banned list.

Huh? So it’s Fyodor pretending it’s bird pretending its Fyodor. This is getting really screwed up.

JC
JC
10 years ago

Jacques says:

I’m pretty sure the Swiss were into banking when Moses was reading a sand-colour map upside down. But I don’t see anyone making dark comments about gnomes or cracking jokes in piss poor German.

Jacques, nearly 1/2 of the Swiss gnomes are in hiding from US authorities as the US is going after them for opening private accounts for US (domiciled) citizens. And to top it off they are handing over the names thereby exposing them without even a cough.

Want to trust Swiss banking gnomes? I dare you.

EXCLUSIVE – Swiss offer U.S. tax deal for all Swiss banks: sources

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

So Birdy didn’t get in by the back door he got in by the Fyodoor!!

Still there is a silver lining. how can you tell with KC?

Fyodor
10 years ago

Where’s the evidence for anti-semitism? Its a combination between black humour, an organised campaign of desensitisation, and an enquiry as to why the same population source, that can produce such riches, and good things, while they are struggling to the top, can often be amongst the most egregious wealth destroyers and ragbags, once they get there. One wants to know these things. These are honest enquiries.

One time a relieving bank manager told me about a funeral he had just been to. A protestant former bank manager had died. And at his funeral the place was just packed to the rafters with Jewish people paying their respects. What had happened is that in the late 40’s and early 50’s he had loaned all these recent refugees $5000 dollars apiece to help springboard them into small business. And the community had never forgotten them for it. Now this is an example of a banker creating wealth. But it wouldn’t have been likely to create wealth if he had lent the money to any other group of refugees. So there is a mis-match there.

Its Jamie DIMON JC. And Dimon is a Jew. Plus JP Morgan are particularly obnoxious wealth-destroying welfare queens. What is your problem with Bridgewater? They would appear to be doing excellent work?

JC
JC
10 years ago

It’s fyodor. Not Bird.

Fyodor would know Dimon’s correct spelling as he’s a stickler for that sort of thing.

James “Jamie” Dimon was born in New York City, to Theodore and Themis Dimon, of Greek descent and attended Browning School.[5]

He majored in psychology and economics at Tufts University, before earning an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School along with classmates Jeffrey Immelt, Steve Burke (businessman) and Seth Klarman. When Dimon graduated in 1982, Sandy Weill convinced him to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs,[6] where he worked the previous summer, and Morgan Stanley to join him as an assistant at American Express. Although Weill could not offer the same amount of money as the investment banks, Weill promised Dimon that he would have “fun

I must say “Jamie” had to be a late developer. Browning is the private (high) school for not so bright rich kids.

JC
JC
10 years ago

What is your problem with Bridgewater? They would appear to be doing excellent work?

Nothing. I’m in awe of their (his) performance. However Dalio is freaking crazy. have you kept up with his “hyper-reality theory”.

My theory is that’s it’s just Ray’s way of bullying the hired help.

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

No JC it is Bird. The comments are reproduced on Bird’s blog
Ken’s point is that Bird has been ‘harvesting’ email addresses left when you comment on his blog. So beware.

Fyodor
10 years ago

“Oh well, the more famous Fyodor (Dostoevsky) was a bit of an anti-semite”

Well I’m not. I’m a life-long Jew-oh-phile I would think. But there is no use denying that something has gone wrong. Howard Hughes found he could work with Mormons. Now there you have a tight-knit group. Tight-knit groups can keep secrets within the group. Such group coherence can be exploited. The rather scary ethnocentrism of Jews can be exploited. Basically Jews are white-supremacists, but kind of polite with it. Certain characteristics that can be highly valuable to society in some contexts, can be exploited for wrong-doing in other contexts.

The historical pattern appears to be that a few people within that community get involved in wrong-doing, and we Neanderthals take it out on the innocent within that community. Now we all must recognise that this is not a good thing. But the answer is not to shy away from the misery that Lloyd Blankfein and many others are inflicting. The answer is to get normal Jews to break ranks with the criminals, and be the most energetic in pointing the spot-light on their wrong-doing. Yet we have the economics profession running interference for the worst of the worst banksters.

JC
JC
10 years ago

Oh Okay Jason. Tricky stuff.

In that case Bird will love the Hyper-reality theory then. It may be a good way to take his “mind” off the Protocols and into Ray’s theory of everything including the universe.

Fyodor
10 years ago

“Nothing. I’m in awe of their (his) performance. However Dalio is freaking crazy. have you kept up with his “hyper-reality theory”.”

Sounds like a pretty good small model to me. I never had a problem with Italians. I had a problem with you when you turned treasonous to human liberty. Its one thing to support a bailout, but a bailout used to simply mean that you sent the trucks out from the mint, in a hurry, at high interest rates, to stop a general run on the banks. Then you opened up the books to see what had gone wrong.

This was a different sort of bailout. And there could never have been an excuse to support it, when you had ensconced yourself in free enterprise circles. You have brought discredit on human freedom, and the voluntary society.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

Joe

Do you think you could bring yourself simply to ignore him? He’ll go away after a while if you do. You might enjoy a discussion with a malevolent nutter but it’s pretty clear no-one else does.

JC
JC
10 years ago

I will Ken.

I thought it was actually Fyodor misbehaving.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

Anyway I’ve banned the Fyodor email address for the moment and the current IP address Bird is using. I can always reinstate it later once Bird has fluttered off elsewhere temporarily. He’ll inevitably be back as someone else in due course but we’ll deal with that when it arises.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

The propertarisns in this thread don’t in any way dispute that they would, if necessary, approve the police evicting someone because the landlord doesn’t like their sexuality. They just explain that it’s really all right, because it’s freedom of contract.

My post wasn’t directed against confirmed propertarians like the commenters here – they’ve already followed their position to its logical consequences. Rather it was directed to people of generally liberal inclinations, who might be tempted to see propertiarianism as a logical complement to beliefs about the desirability of personal, and particularly sexual, freedom. The commenters, starting with Yobbo prove my point.

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

If your point was that you’re a hack who would come up with any sort of convoluted bullshit to score a point against the libertarians you hate so much, then yes, I think we’ve proved your point.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

I bow to your superior logic.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Don’t worry John, as you may be aware, Yobbo does this to everyone to the left of Genghis Khan, but when one actually takes him to task he runs for the hills like a wuss. Has all the intellectual rigour of Justin Bieber. All spiky tip, no iceberg. Briefly fun but ultimately unfulfilling.

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

i like to think I’m more like Britney Spears

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

QED. Good link, though.

jc
jc
10 years ago

But there was no evidence that Anders Breivik was mentally ill and 1,516 pages worth of evidence that his murderous rampage was deliberate and politically motivated</

Actually I don't think that's right. I can't imagine any libertarian supporting cops going around to ones home and chucking them out.

There would have to be a court decision first and courts wouldn't send cops around the same day to throw people out of the house.

Frankly in practical terms I can't see how this could eventuate. Does a landlord spy on a person in their bedroom? How would a court look at such a thing and not throw it out and in fact punish the landlord.

Lastly it's not at all certain in my mind that a court would ask a tenant to leave and perhaps find a way to continue the contract until the lease expires.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

Propertarians? Wow, I didn’t know they existed. But I think Bird would be the only Rothbardian nutbag around the joint.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

I know what John thinks as he has written about it.

Yobbo has yet to express his understanding of the matter.

Neither case is unusual

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

Ok homer here it is in a nutshell.

The entire assumption of John’s argument is that people should be able to ignore the aspects of a contract that they signed, if they later decide that it’s mellowing their buzz.

Introducing the emotive case of racial or sexual discrimination is just an emotive ploy to make the landholder seem evil.

The actual hypothetical case is no different than if the landholder “A” stipulated in the contract that no dogs are allowed, and then “B” later decided to go and buy a dozen Rottweilers.

If you don’t like the terms of the contract then don’t sign it.

The entire sub-plot of “calling the state in to enforce the contract” is a strawman typical of Quiggin where he likes to play the “you’re not really a libertarian” card. In actual fact there’s no reason why the landholder would need the state to intervene, he could quite easily evict the tenant without their help.

And of course, B could avoid ever having to agree to any such lease conditions by buying his own house.

John of course, would prefer a world where even buying a house would not ensure your personal freedom inside of it. A world where a majority of busybodies could still make laws on what kind of sex you had inside your own bedroom, just like they are now trying to pass laws on whether or not you can smoke cigarettes in your own home.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

So, Yobbo’s completely OK with landlords discriminating against gays, mixed-race couples etc.

He wants to preserve his libertarian cred by supposing they can use hired goons to effect their evictions without any legal process, thereby avoiding the involvement of the evil state – total nonsense of course, since their property rights are 100 per cent derived from the state, but what can you expect?

Do the rest of the propertarians here want to back him up? Or do some of you get my point now?

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

I particularly like Yobbo’s comparison of choosing your partner with bringing a dozen Rottweilers into the house – that kind of equivalence shows why liberals should never make common cause with propertarians