Balkinization  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Will the US survive?

Sandy Levinson

I presume I have your attention with a suitably over-the-top title.  That being said, imagine the following altogether realistic situation (because it's the one we're in):  The two likely candidates appear to be loathed by most of the opposing party.  As I have made clear, I do not think that an honorable person can support the dangerously fascistic and buffoonish Donald Trump, for the same reason that Alexander Hamilton could not support Aaron Burr for the presidency.  But, as I've indicated, responses to my op-eds have made clear that many Republicans--and I will assume that many of them are appalled by  Donald Trump--feel equally disgusted by Hillary Clinton.  I disagree, but that's beside the point, of course.

One of them presumably has to win.  So the question is this: Will the losers accept the verdict as legitimate, since, by definition, that will place in the White House someone who is regarded by the opposition as unfit for the office?  I certainly would not regard Donald Trump as a legitimate President.  I would hope, for example, that Congress would move to impeach him as quickly as possible, for jaywalking if need be.  That prospect might depend, of course, on whom he picks as VP--and, incidentally, will the Cleveland convention give him carte blanche to pick the VP?  They didn't do that for McCain, who was actually qualified to be president.  He clearly wanted Lieberman, and he was told hell no, so instead he took us down the primrose path by choosing the egregious Sarah Palin.  So assume, for sake of argument, that Trump is forced to pick someone competent.  Why should we allow Donald Trump more than a single day in office, given the amount of mischief he is capable of doing, coupled with his staggering ignorance about almost all issues of pubic policy.  I'm assuming that Republicans would feel much the same way about Hillary Clinton.

But, hey, it can get worse.  If Donald Trump wins a majority of the electoral vote with a clear majority of the popular vote, then those of us who despise him would at last have to explain why we reject the "people's choice."   But assume that he (or that matter Clinton) wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote.  And, of course, assume that one or more of the close states features the kind of election irregularities we have become used to n our basically third-world election system (where partisan officials are in charge of elections or, if not partisan, then they are often simply in over their head with regard to the knowledge of resources needed to run modern elections).  And, of course, there are also Republicans who are determined to suppress the vote of any and all likely Democratic voters, including racial and ethnic minorities and students.  So imagine that North Carolina turns out to be the decisive state, where thousands of likely Democratic voters have been denied access to the ballot because of the successful attempt by the mad-dog Republicans who now control my home state to maintain their power.  (I never miss a chance to quote what I call John Roche's dictum:  Power corrupts, and the prospect of losing power corrupts absolutely.  That is the modern Republican Party in a nutshell.)

Charles Dunlap wrote a brilliant essay many years ago on the "coming military coup" in 2012, as military officers became more and more disgusted at the degree to which the US itself needed the kind of "nation building" that the military--Dunlap thought unwisely--was increasing being assigned as part of its mission in other countries.   So what should we make of the fact that at present the US military is the only national institution that has the solid confidence of most of the American public?  Congress is held in what many of us would say is justified contempt.  interestingly enough, President Obama now seems to have majority approval, but you may have noticed that he's not running for re-election.  Even the Supreme Court now regularly is approved by only a minority of the population.

Our Founders were scarcely cock-eyed optimists about whether the American republic would necessarily sustain itself.  It took not only good institutional design--and I, of course, think that the institutions designed for 1787 are grievously dysfunctional in 2016--but also suitably virtuous dispositions on the part of both the citizenry and the leadership class.  I have discovered that few seem to share my own faith in the possibility of an American public capable of exercising "reflection and choice" as spelled out in Federalist 1, with regard to a new constitutional convention.  And if that's the case, why should we trust the public to exercise relevant reflection and choice when choosing a president?  And no one can seriously argue that Donald Trump is a Publican leader; I think that Hillary Clinton does qualify, but the very point of this posting is that most Republicans apparently disagree vehemently with that perception.

So, if it the case that wide swaths of the country will refuse to accept the result of the 2016 election as truly legitimate--think in this context, perhaps, of 1860--then might one imagine the rise of some serious secessionist movements within the US?  Why should Pacifica or Cascade remain within a US governed by Donald Trump?  Some might wonder if Dixie would wish to remain in a US governed by Hillary Clinton (especially if the respective candidates manage to carry Congress with them).

All of this, of course, may be hysterical musings on the eve of leaving the country for three weeks, to go first to Portugal, then to England, and finally to Israel.  Portugal appears to be relatively stable these days, at least in comparison with much of the rest of Europe.  But one of the topics to be discussed at a conference in Oxford I'll be attending is the Brexit vote, which threatens to destroy the European project that has been the most beneficial consequences of World War II.  And Israel, I'm afraid, drifts more and more to authoritarian rule in part because they are led by a Prime Minister who is little, if any, better than Donald Trump in his basic contempt for liberal constitutionalism and the pluralism necessary to maintain a decent modern society.  (If you don't believe me, just track down some of the stories about the resignation this past week of the Likud Defense Minister, who is correctly appalled by the prospect of shifts that Netanyahu wishes to make in his governing coalition.)

Is America really an exception to the possibility of decline, including transformation into a decidedly illiberal authoritarianism of the kind that Andrew Sullivan has recent argued threatens us?

As always, I'm allowing comments, but I implore you not go get into an unproductive shouting match about the comparative merits or demerits of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Rather, I'm interested  only and exclusively in whether those of you who support one of them will in fact acquiesce politely to the election of the other (and whether you think that your fellow Americans should do likewise)?  I'm also not interested in hearing from any of Bernie's fans, since it defies belief that Republican losers would find him truly more legitimate than Hillary Clinton, who at least has the resume we might legitimately want in a president.

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Not to put too fine a point on it, Democrats didn't regard the second Bush administration as having been legitimately elected. "Selected, not elected", remember? Didn't in the end mean a thing. Too many people disagreed with you, there wasn't a bipartisan consensus that the election had been stolen.

Democrats tend to view, as you demonstrate above, "legitimacy" as a political matter. Do they like the election outcome? If yes, it was legitimate, if no, then not. So it's simply a given that Democrats will regard Trump as illegitimately elected, unless he makes a face/heel turn on taking office, and governs as a Democrat. Similarly, Democrats will view Hillary as legitimately elected, even if she's carried into office by massive election irregularities.

Republicans tend to view legitimacy as a procedural matter: If the person won the office fair and square, they're legitimate no matter how much they detest them. If Hillary wins fair and square, they'll grit their teeth until they crack, and accept that she's really President. If Trump wins fair and square, they won't even have to grit their teeth.

Even if one of Hillary's numerous scandals erupts post-election, demonstrating to all that she's a criminal, impeachment is unlikely. Republicans understand that Democrats regard impeachment as a purely political matter, and will not vote to convict a Democrat regardless of the evidence. So they likely wouldn't make more than a pro-forma effort to impeach.


 

"will in fact acquiesce politely to the election of the other"

Extreme partisans on both sides tend to say the election of the other side's candidate is always illegitimate, remember that Obama shouldn't have won because he wasn't a natural born citizen, all those fraudulent votes, he lied to the American people/the press promoted him, etc., etc., etc.

Partisans let their partisanship cloud their ability to perceive reality and so they tend to think there's no way a majority of their peers would elect the candidate that they so clearly see as objectively awful, so when that person wins there had to be something nefarious going on. An inability to see the reasonableness that lies behind the positions of those you disagree with is at fault.

Those opposed to Trump need to see that if he wins he won because there are a lot of people out there honestly fed up with what they see as betrayals on issues like immigration, trade, political correctness and terrorism, that they see the usual 'career politicians' as having failed them on these, Trump's seeming inability to comport himself with the usual political rules for behavior they see as a potential feature, not a bug (it marks him as a true outsider). For those opposed to Clinton they need to see that if she wins it's because for a lot of people the charges hurled against her for so long mean they're suspicious of any charge as just 'out to get her,' that they still expect the usual rules of behavior for politicians to be followed, they see it as a measure of the kind of professionalism leaders must have, and they don't see our current or proposed government measures as oppressive.

But don't hold your breath for partisans to do this.
 

Anyway, Sandy, I implore you to look at your own essay.

You ask if either would be viewed by the opposing party as "legitimate", but you don't make any suggestion that their election would be accomplished by some form of cheating. Your only basis for the proposed illegitimacy is not liking the outcome of the election.

How can this legitimately be a basis for "illegitimacy" in a democracy? Winning the election is what makes you the legitimate office holder in a democracy. Nothing else. If you didn't steal the election, if you meet the formal requirements for holding the office, you ARE the legitimate office holder, period, full stop, end of story.

If you're not prepared to admit that the winner of a fairly conducted election is legitimate, it isn't a particular candidate you've rejected.\

It's democracy.
 

Thanks for this hilarious satire of the GOP's lack of self-awareness. It's a little over the top, but funny nonetheless.
 

Brett's reactions well demonstrate Josh's point.
 

As pointless as it might be, Shag, I direct the same plea to you: Look at Sandy's essay.

He provides no basis for suggesting that either Hillary or Trump would be "illegitimate" if elected, except not liking them.

Is not liking/approving of the winner of an election, really a proper basis for determining if they legitimately hold the office? What's your opinion here?
 

Brett writes: "Republicans tend to view legitimacy as a procedural matter: If the person won the office fair and square, they're legitimate no matter how much they detest them." I don't recall their viewing George W. Bush has having been illegitimate, even though he lost the popular vote and was selected by five Supreme Court justices in an illegitimate opinion--illegitimate in the sense that it was so contrary to precedent that the five said that it would apply only in the one case.

As for Democrats viewing Bush as illegitimate, Al Gore, a Democrat, in his role as vice president, shamefully recognized the electoral college vote as legitimate. (I forget what that role is, precisely.)
 

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Yes.
 

Sandy: Will the losers accept the verdict as legitimate, since, by definition, that will place in the White House someone who is regarded by the opposition as unfit for the office?

You can accept the election as legitimate and still oppose the president's policies and increasingly common violations of the Constitution and law. See the Obama administration.

But assume that he (or that matter Clinton) wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote.

Given the massive disapproval of these two candidates, think instead of a plurality popular voter winner with a narrow majority of electoral vote, or even a situation where none of the candidates gain a majority of the popular or electoral vote and the election goes to the House of Representatives!

I do not think that you are worried about an "illegitimate election," though.

As I have made clear, I do not think that an honorable person can support the dangerously fascistic and buffoonish Donald Trump

Ah, now we get to the crux of your complaint - policy and politics. You can make the same argument against the socialists the Democrats are running.

Regardless of his or her policies and politics, I consider an elected president to be legitimate so long as he or she follows the Constitution and the law.

Is America really an exception to the possibility of decline, including transformation into a decidedly illiberal authoritarianism of the kind that Andrew Sullivan has recent argued threatens us?

The possibility of a transformation from liberalism to authoritarianism? That transformation has been underway since the New Deal and has gone into overdrive under an Obama administration ruling by bureaucratic decree.

This is the reason why the United States and every other "progressive" nation in the OECD is in demographic, economic and fiscal decline.

This decline is why we urgently need a constitutional convention to reverse our authoritarian government and return to classical liberalism.
 

"That transformation has been underway since the New Deal and has gone into overdrive under an Obama administration ruling by bureaucratic decree."

Ridiculous nonsense, our nation bears no resemblance to the horrible authoritarian regimes you equate it with. Interestingly enough, in an area in which we might actually match such horrors, the rounding up and violently interring millions of people, it is your side that pushes it.

"This is the reason why the United States and every other "progressive" nation in the OECD is in demographic, economic and fiscal decline."

More hogwash, as I've shown you time and time again every industrial economy, whether it be the libertarian paradise of Singapore or the Chinese communists faces similar patterns. Your beef is with industrialization, which kind of fits since the policies you desire would likely return us to a state before it.
 

I don't have an opinion on everything. And when I do have opinions, I am not always prepared to share them, being self-aware of my own limitations, as well as not wishing to bore anyone. But it is amusing that Brett opines in what he deems as social media for his personal neediness, in ways that seem to contradict his self-proclaimed anarcho-libertarian and 2nd A absolutist personas, now apparently preparing to accept as legitimate the winner of the 2016 election, whether Trump or Clinton, as - drum roll - democracy.

No, I'm not prepared to play Sandy's game as it seems to me he is shifting back towards nullification and secession as responses to the political dysfunction of our Constitution for which he has called for a second constitutional convention that seems to have gone unheeded.

As to Sandy's provocative title, I should note that I accepted as legitimate the closely won election of Richard Nixon in 1968. I tried to console a friend more progressive than I that the reviled Tricky Dick Nixon would not ruin the country. And he didn't - but he came damn close. The nation as well as I survived. Would America survive a President Trump? Being an octogenarian, and well aware that the memory is the second thing to go, - now what's the question?
 

Mr. W:

Please give me examples of nations you consider to be authoritarian and why.

I will show you how the US has adopted their structure and policies beginning with the New Deal.
 

We've had this disgusting discussion before (I say disgusting because it so insults those who have had and continue to suffer from actual authoritarian regimes). When people talk about the archetypal 'authoritarian' regimes of Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, Stalinist Russia they are talking about the government subverting the basic tenets of liberal democracy (repressing basic civil liberties, opposition parties, dissent) in ways that involve fundamental and gross human rights abuses (mass murder, torture, etc). The closest thing we've come to living under an 'authoritarian' regime is, ironically, in relation to various minority groups during times you laud as 'small government.'
 

I'm equally disgusted with the modern practice of calling slight reductions in early voting, or demands that potential voters actually demonstrate that they're who they claim to be, "vote suppression" if they take place in states not controlled by the Democratic party. (While blowing off the complete lack of early voting in places like New York.)

There are a lot of trends in the US today I don't like, but by most measures, we're not too bad off, even if in some important ways we're backsliding.

My big concern is that, though they may not be used yet in that way, we've put in place a lot of the machinery necessary for a police state. Any dictator would kill to have the NSA and its capabilities at his beck and call, for instance.

Our society used to be more resilient against a transition to dictatorship, just exactly because you'd have to build those things up from scratch.
 

I'm a bit skeptical of the concern about "legitimacy". This has been a feature of US politics from the very beginning. See Jefferson's references to Federalist "heresy"; the Slaveholders Rebellion; the "Rum, Romanism & Rebellion" era; FDR; and, most recently, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Obama. Generally speaking, it's the minority (presidential) party which adopts this attitude, which is why we've seen it most strongly in the Rs for the last 24 years.

Legitimacy complaints are potentially dangerous, but they generally dissolve as issues fade or a blowout election result confirms the majority position. That blowout probably would have occurred in 2012 if Obama and Senate Dems had been smarter about the economy. Maybe it will happen now with Trump as an unqualified clown nominee.

I do, however, want to push back on the idea that "Dixie" might want to secede (again). What this really means is that "white Republican voters" might have that desire. The rest of Dixie (pretty much all blacks and a non-trivial number of whites) might not think that such a good idea at all.
 

I have to say I agree with Brett about the NSA, it's one of the more concerning issues for me. If Rand Paul had been pro-choice I would have supported him over any of the Democratic candidates.
 

Mr; W: When people talk about the archetypal 'authoritarian' regimes of Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, Stalinist Russia they are talking about the government subverting the basic tenets of liberal democracy (repressing basic civil liberties, opposition parties, dissent) in ways that involve fundamental and gross human rights abuses (mass murder, torture, etc)

To start, the better term for these political economies is totalitarian rather than authoritarian, which really means an executive acting beyond his or her authority.

The two most classically liberal nation states of the past millennium - the UK and the US - both engaged in mass murder, torture, concentration camps, death marches, slavery, etc. Malum in se government acts are unfortunately not limited to the regimes you consider to be authoritarian.

Totalitarian government does indeed subvert the basic tenets of liberal democracy.

A classically liberal democracy is based on two principles - a natural right to liberty and a limited government prohibited from infringing on that liberty. A totalitarian political economy does not recognize a natural right to liberty or a limited government. Totalitarians do not believe in any natural check on their preferred policies.

Socialism, fascism, democratic socialism and progressivism are all totalitarian political economies. Democratic socialists and progressives share the same end goals as socialism and fascism, but proceed toward those goals in a more ordered and incremental way. Once again, read what progressives actually said and wrote over the past century and a half. They are quite open about their goals and the means to achieve them.

A classically liberal democracy employs a constitutionally limited representative democracy with a separation of the three governmental powers to govern. All totalitarian political economies employ an unelected bureaucracy exercising absolute (all three types of governmental) power to perform most of the actual governance. Authoritarian Germany led the creation of the modern "administrative state" followed by authoritarian France. The socialists, fascists and progressives ALL adopted this state to run their political economies.

A classically liberal democracy recognizes that the natural right to liberty includes economic liberty. All totalitarian political economies recognize that government direction of the economy is the most effective way to control and, in their view, perfect the people. Our progressive directions of the economy are all borrowed from socialist and fascist governments. These directions include the nationalizing businesses (see GM, Chrysler, Fannie, Freddie, the railroads during WWI); directing business operations through regulation (Programs like Obamacare borrowing from German Zwangswirtschaft socialism); creating government monopolies in business and employment (the National Recovery Act and a long list of various licensure mandates borrowing from German Zwangswirtschaft socialism and later fascist corporatism), etc, etc.

A classically liberal democracy recognizes that the burdens of government support and law should be shared as equally as possible. All totalitarian political economies recognize that government redistribution of wealth and property rights from those who create it to those the government prefers is the second most effective way to control the people. Progressives and fascists borrowed the synthesis of a progressively punitive tax system, government compensation mandates, the corporate and individual welfare states, regulations governing the use of property and occasional nationalization of the "commanding heights of the economy" from the socialists.

In your inevitable attempt at rebuttal, please spare me the argument that totalitarianism is not really totalitarianism because the people could democratically reverse the totalitarian state if they did not love it so. You judge a political economy by what it does, not what it theoretically could do.
 

Your 'response' is none such, just a cut and pasting of your usual supposed political insight. As it wasn't responsive to what I said, I'll repeat myself: Stalin's Russia, Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, etc., have not become well recognized historical examples of totalitarian regimes because they controlled the economy or developed bureaucracies, they are because they violently, and with mass murder, torture, etc., repressed dissent, opposing political parties, etc. That doesn't happen in the 'progressive democracies' you indict. (As to your point about the US and the UK committing mass human rights violations I have no problem with saying that, in the case of the US for examples, for blacks, Native Americans, and some of our opponents in war, all groups not considered to be citizens, indeed we behaved more like totalitarian nightmare states than liberal democracies).

"You judge a political economy by what it does, not what it theoretically could do."

That's ridiculous. It's like saying that you judge a voluntary monastic institution the same as a prison.
 

Bart is like an alien from another planet who lands in an totalitarian state and our state and, upon seeing that both contain uniformed and armed police forces which sometimes utilize force to subdue and incarcerate people, declares them equivalent, because they have those things in common. That the former are jailing dissidents without an adversary process and the latter car thieves after a robust such process is, to this simple minded space-farer, overlooked.
 

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Mista Whiskas said...Your 'response' is none such, just a cut and pasting of your usual supposed political insight. As it wasn't responsive to what I said, I'll repeat myself: Stalin's Russia, Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, etc., have not become well recognized historical examples of totalitarian regimes because they controlled the economy or developed bureaucracies, they are because they violently, and with mass murder, torture, etc., repressed dissent, opposing political parties, etc. That doesn't happen in the 'progressive democracies' you indict. (As to your point about the US and the UK committing mass human rights violations I have no problem with saying that, in the case of the US for examples, for blacks, Native Americans, and some of our opponents in war, all groups not considered to be citizens, indeed we behaved more like totalitarian nightmare states than liberal democracies).

What?!?

Your rebuttal is that totalitarian political economies are distinguished from classically liberal or progressive political economies by their malum in se acts, except of course when those classically liberal or progressive political economies inflict the same malum in se acts. Malum in se acts are a symptom of bad government, not a definition of a political economy.

I have defined in detail the elements common to all totalitarian political economies, including progressivism, and distinguished them from the elements of a classically liberal political economy. Then I provided you with a sample of the policies progressivism borrowed from socialism and fascism, which you admit are totalitarian political economies.

You are free offer your own definitions of totalitarianism, progressivism and classical liberalism showing how they do not share common elements. I have been working on distinguishing progressivism from fascism, socialism and all the other totalitarian "isms" for years before I finally gave up. They are all the same.

BD: "You judge a political economy by what it does, not what it theoretically could do."

Mr. W: That's ridiculous. It's like saying that you judge a voluntary monastic institution the same as a prison.


Your analogy is a perfect example of my distinction.

In a classically liberal political economy, you can voluntarily limit your freedom and then remove that limitation similar to checking into a monastery.

In a totalitarian political economy, the government limits your freedom under threat of fine, imprisonment and death. Very much like a prison, you do not get to remove the government limits.
 

"Your rebuttal is that totalitarian political economies are distinguished from classically liberal or progressive political economies by their malum in se acts, except of course when those classically liberal or progressive political economies inflict the same malum in se acts."

No, I pointed out that the malum in se acts of the latter are committed against those considered outside of their polity, the malum in se acts of the former are committed against those within their polity. Regardless of political economy nations commit all kinds of war crimes.

My definition of totalitarian societies hasn't changed, here it is for the third time: government subverting the basic tenets of liberal democracy (repressing basic civil liberties, opposition parties, dissent) in ways that involve fundamental and gross human rights abuses (mass murder, torture, etc). It's disgusting for you to equate nations that do these things with countries like the modern US, France, England, etc.

"very much like a prison, you do not get to remove the government limits."

But we can remove any limits we have any time we want, you yourself described how the House alone could do it if they wished. The fact that the people keep the monastery going doesn't make it a prison.
 

Mr. W:

Here is your homework question for the day:

In a once in a century double wave election, the voters fired the Democrat Congress which imposed Obamacare against the will of the voters and elected a Congress expressly promising to reverse Obamacare.

What were the structural and political reasons the new Congress declined to defund or reverse Obamacare in spite of the will of the voters?
 

Bart,

You're forgetting that in that same time period they re-elected the fellow for whom the act is named, aren't you?
 

I mean, I can see why you would forget that given your embarrassingly wrong predictions about it...
 

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Mr W:

Even unpopular presidents can get reelected when the voters do not like the alternative. None of that changes the fact that Obama presided over the largest voter rejection of a political party since Hoover and, indeed, has placed the GOP back in about the same position as they occupied before Hoover.

Stop delaying. Do you homework or concede the point.
 

Sandy:

Here is a list of corporations who have purchased influence with your dowager queen in waiting between 2013-15 with "speaking fees." There are so many that the per post character limit required multiple posts to list them all.

4/18/2013, Morgan Stanley, Washington, DC: $225,000
4/24/2013, Deutsche Bank, Washington, DC: $225,000
4/24/2013, National Multi Housing Council, Dallas, Texas: $225,000
4/30/2013, Fidelity Investments, Naples, Fla.: $225,000
5/8/2013, Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,000
5/14/2013, Apollo Management Holdings LP, New York, NY: $225,000
5/16/2013, Itau BBA USA Securities, New York, NY: $225,000
5/21/2013, Vexizon Communications Inc., Washington, DC: $225,000
5/29/2013, Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. LLC, New York, NY: $225,000
6/4/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, Palmetto Bluffs, SC: $225,000
6/6/2013, Spencer Stuart, New York, NY: $225,000
6/16/2013, Society for Human Resource Management, Chicago, Ill.: $285,000
6/17/2013, Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Mich.: $225,000
6/20/2013, Boston Consulting Group Inc., Boston, Mass.: $225,000
6/20/2013, Let’s Talk Entertainment Inc., Toronto, Canada: $250,000
6/24/2013, American Jewish University, Universal City, Calif.: $225,000
6/24/2013, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company LP, Palos Verdes, Calif.: $225,000
7/11/2013, UBS Wealth Management, New York, NY: $225,000
8/7/2013, Global Business Travel Association, San Diego, Calif.: $225,000
8/12/2013, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,000
9/18/2013, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Chicago, Ill.: $225,000
9/19/2013, American Society of Travel Agents Inc., Miami, Fla.: $225,000
10/4/2013, Long Island Association, Long Island, NY: $225,000
10/15/2013, National Association of Convenience Stores, Atlanta, Ga.: $265,000
10/23/2013, SAP Global Marketing Inc., New York, NY: $225,000
10/24/2013, Accenture, New York, NY: $225,000
10/24/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, New York, NY: $225,000
10/27/2013, Beth El Synagogue, Minneapolis, Minn.: $225,000
10/28/2013, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, Ill.: $400,000
10/29/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, Tuscon, Ariz.: $225,000
11/4/2013, Mase Productions Inc., Orlando, Fla.: $225,000
11/4/2013, London Drugs Ltd., Mississauga, Canada: $225,000
11/6/2013, Beaumont Health System, Troy, Mich.: $305,000
11/7/2013, Golden Tree Asset Management, New York, NY: $275,000
11/9/2013, National Association of Realtors, San Francisco, Calif.: $225,000
11/13/2013, Mediacorp Canada Inc., Toronto, Canada: $225,000
11/13/2013, Bank of America, Bluffton, SC: $225,000
11/14/2013, CB Richard Ellis Inc., New York, NY: $250,000
11/18/2013, CIIE Group, Naples, Fla.: $225,000
11/18/2013, Press Ganey, Orlando, Fla.: $225,000
11/21/2013, U.S. Green Building Council, Philadelphia, Pa.: $225,000

 

My favorite was the $100M donation to the Clinton foundation from Lundin Group. For which they got a year's delay in regulations on the "blood minerals" they specialized in.

About as clear as quid pro quos get.
 

01/06/2014, GE, Boca Raton, Fla.: $225,500
01/27/2014, National Automobile Dealers Association, New Orleans, La.: $325,500
01/27/2014, Premier Health Alliance, Miami, Fla.: $225,500
02/06/2014, Salesforce.com, Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,500
02/17/2014, Novo Nordisk A/S, Mexico City, Mexico: $125,000
02/26/2014, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Orlando, Fla.: $225,500
02/27/2014, A&E Television Networks, New York, NY: $280,000
03/04/2014, Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.: $225,500
03/05/2014, The Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver, Canada: $275,500
03/06/2014, tinePublic Inc., Calgary, Canada: $225,500
03/13/2014, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, Orlando, Fla.: $225,500
03/13/2014, Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies, New York, NY: $250,000
03/18/2014, Xerox Corporation, New York, NY: $225,000
03/18/2014, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Montreal, Canada: $275,000
03/24/2014, Academic Partnerships, Dallas, Texas: $225,500
04/08/2014, Market° Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
04/08/2014, World Affairs Council, Portland, Ore.: $250,500
04/10/2014, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,500
04/10/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment, San Jose, Calif.: $265,000
04/11/2014, California Medical Association (via satellite), San Diego, Calif.: $100,000
05/06/2014, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, Washington, DC: $225,500
06/02/2014, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, Denver, Colo.: $225,500
06/02/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment, Denver, Colo.: $265,000
06/10/2014, United Fresh Produce Association, Chicago, Ill.: $225,000
06/16/2014, tinePublic Inc., Toronto, Canada: $150,000
06/18/2014, tinePublic Inc., Edmonton, Canada: $100,000
06/20/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment, Austin, Texas: $150,000
06/25/2014, Biotechnology Industry Organization, San Diego, Calif.: $335,000
06/25/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment, San Francisco, Calif.: $150,000
06/26/2014, GTCR, Chicago, Ill.: $280,000



 

07/22/2014, Knewton Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
07/26/2014, Ameriprise, Boston, Mass.: $225,500
07/29/2014, Coming Inc., Coming, NY: $225,500
08/28/2014, Nexenta Systems Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $300,000
08/28/2014, Cisco, Las Vegas, Nev.: $325,000
09/04/2014, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego, Calif.: $225,500
09/15/2014, Caridovascular Research Foundation, Washington, DC: $275,000
10/02/2014, Commercial Real Estate Women Network, Miami Beach, Fla.: $225,500
10/06/2014, Canada 2020, Ottawa, Canada: $215,500
10/07/2014, Deutsche Bank AG, New York, NY: $280,000
10/08/2014, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Chicago, Ill.: $265,000
10/13/2014, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Colorado Springs, Colo.: $225,500
10/14/2014, Salesforce.com, San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
10/14/2014, Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego, Calif.: $335,000
12/04/2014, Massachusetts Conference for Women, Boston, Mass.: $205,500
01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc., Winnipeg, Canada: $262,000
01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc., Saskatoon, Canada: $262,500
01/22/2015, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Whistler, Canada: $150,000
02/24/2015, Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, Santa Clara, Calif.: $225,500
03/11/2015, eBay Inc., San Jose, Calif.: $315,000
03/19/2015, American Camping Association, Atlantic City, NJ: $260,000

Total: $21,667,000

 

I don't see my longer post.

In response to Brett's "love" comment. Overall, the basic concern here is that when the group in question donated to a charity (the corporation charity arm was involved) in 2007 it ultimately was really a "quid pro quo" fulfilled a couple years later.

The concern for this sort of thing is ironically what campaign finance reform is basically about. So, I welcome the implicit support, if only unintentional. Lots of people donate to the Clinton Foundation, which is well respected international charity. But, sure, money in politics has republican government concerns.

As to "clear" trade, not shown. The concern for human rights is appreciated, but the U.S. government has been far from strict in respect to corporations in such cases for as long as it existed. Criticism was given but was only that group benefited by the delay? Also, the group has fingers in many pies as do other types of mega-companies. Again, campaign finance reform is concerned about this.

Finally, looking into it, 100M was pledged after a smaller donation was provided, but various complications turned up in part Clinton becoming SOS. One negative article in 2015 only referred to the much smaller donation as does the Clinton Foundation Wikipedia page.

I welcome the concern of money in politics though Trump has many problematic connections (cited in the past) without government experience and other things to balance it out. As Mr. W. et. al. note, we are dealing with imperfections here though Sanders is better as a critic here than those who support Republicans who also have lots of special interest money in their pocket.
 

"Do you homework or concede the point."

There's no homework to be done. You ask why the GOP hasn't moved to defund Obamacare even though the 2010 elections resulted in such a defeat for Obama's party. The answer I suggested is that two years later in a higher turn out election the man for whom the very program is named won re-election. No homework need be done.

"As to "clear" trade, not shown."

Exactly, wasn't the donation done before not only Clinton becoming SoS but also before there was an even a Democratic administration to name her so?
 

Democrats tend to view, as you demonstrate above, "legitimacy" as a political matter. Do they like the election outcome? If yes, it was legitimate, if no, then not...

But Al Gore discouraged thinking of Bush in 2000 as not legitimate. And even one of Bush's SCOTUS advocates, Justice O'Connor, thought they shouldn't have taken the case that decided the election. So there are some grounds for disputing the above comment.

Republicans tend to view legitimacy as a procedural matter: If the person won the office fair and square, they're legitimate no matter how much they detest them.

Then why did I hear his opponents referring to Bill Clinton as a "minority president"? Which he wasn't, unlike GW Bush. In the present, it certainly seems as if Republicans are not treating Obama as a legitimate president: born in Kenya, etc.
 

O'Connor's statement there was after the fact. If it was before the fact, she would have joined with the four dissenters from taking cert. or at least went along with Souter/Breyer (both dissented; Breyer joined Stevens' dissent in full! Tricky 7-2, that) to find a middle way.

The argument, again better made imho by "the left," is that it was pretty clear Clinton was going to be the nominee and people thought she'd win. But, what the stopping point there is unclear to me given how lots of people donate sizable sums (as noted, the amount turned out to be smaller than 100M, but for that group, the widow's mite comes to mind) and turn out to benefit (along with others -- influence tends not to be an all/nothing deal) when the party is in office.

The problem here is that Brett rails at those who want even to moderately (see Rick Hasen) limit the power of donating money, even directly to campaigns. It's core 1A speech. So, the problem seems to be the "quid pro quo," but that opens up a big can of worms given the reach of the problem. The "clearly guilty" comment is selective and unproven [delays of that sort is constantly done & it is not like just those who donated benefited] though of course the voter can choose to take what they want (though they will tend to be selective -- see his reactions to Trump).

I'm wary of the speaking fees myself though Scalia et. al. assures us that is just how politics works under our Constitution. But, on balance, Clinton is a lot better than Trump. The case for her or Sanders is a lot harder to make.

Anyway, "legitimacy" -- Republicans define that based on how they like the policy of the President involved too. Yes, Gore et. al. accepted the legitimacy of Bush. A hard core did not, but that wasn't the establishment view in the party & in fact Bush was aided policy-wise by multiple Democrats. Cf. how Republicans handled Obama.
 

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Joe, read Sandy's essay again. The only basis he suggests for either Hillary or Trump not being "legitimate" is whether you like them. No suggestion of electoral irregularities, not meeting the constitutional qualifications. Just whether you like them.

This is not the basis of legitimacy in a democratic system.
 

BD: "Do you homework or concede the point."

Mr. W: There's no homework to be done. You ask why the GOP hasn't moved to defund Obamacare even though the 2010 elections resulted in such a defeat for Obama's party. The answer I suggested is that two years later in a higher turn out election the man for whom the very program is named won re-election. No homework need be done.


As I noted, there are structural and political reasons why our government does not implement our will. You barely and quite unintentionally touched on a couple.

In the case of Obamacare, you have a bipartisan political class which is purchased into our totalitarian political economy. The GOP establishment openly allied with the Democrats and against the majority if the GOP caucus to fully fund Obamacare.

If the GOP Congress unified against Obamacare and attempted to do what the people elected them to do, a progressive minority can exploit and violate our government structure to stop reform. The Constitution's checks and balances and the Senate filibuster were designed to make it difficult for the government to exercise power. With the unconstitutional imposition of permanent appropriations and a regulatory bureaucracy decreeing most law, a progressive minority can use the filibuster and the veto to keep a majority of the people's representatives from defunding progressive programs or reversing the bureaucracy. Clinton and Obama have added to this log jam by exploiting the progressive omnibus funding bill process to threaten to veto any bill with insufficient spending to "shut down the government" and, after a veto, unconstitutionally spending unappropriated money on their preferred programs.

This is why there is little chance a majority of the American voters can effect classical liberal change through what is left of our representative democracy. We need fundamental constitutional change expressly prohibiting the structural problems I noted above. Then the democracy part is up to the voters.
 

Our resident libertarian complains about our 'Constitution's checks and balances and the Senate filibuster' because they were 'designed to make it difficult for the government to exercise power.' It is to laugh! As I've long said, underneath his rhetoric Bart is more Jacobin than Patriot.
 

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Mr. W:

Flew right over your head, did't it? Let me spell it out for you.

Under our constitutional checks and balances as they were designed, the government effectively needs a supermajority coalition of the House, Senate and President to enact law and spending.

The progressives bypassed and turned these checks and balances on their head by delegating absolute power to the regulatory bureaucracy and creating permanent appropriations (spending without the need of annual appropriations). Now the progressive government imposes law by decree and spends money without any action by our elected representatives. If our elected representatives seek to reverse a decree of the bureaucracy or a permanent spending appropriation, a progressive minority can use the constitution's checks and balances to stop the reform and defend our totalitarian system.

Nothing wrong with the checks and balances as originally designed, but rather as they were perverted by the creation of the bureaucracy and permanent appropriations.
 

Joe, read Sandy's essay again. The only basis he suggests for either Hillary or Trump not being "legitimate" is whether you like them. No suggestion of electoral irregularities, not meeting the constitutional qualifications. Just whether you like them. This is not the basis of legitimacy in a democratic system.

This comment would work better if I was saying "I agree with Sandy Levinson."

As a whole, looking past some of his unfortunate extreme comments (though you know, stones/glasshouses) like impeaching him for jaywalking, Sandy Levinson in recent days did not say legitimacy merely rests on whether you "like" one side or the other. Which would be asinine but then I'm not agreeing with that or him. Someone answered a comment about "Democrats" and I replied showing how both sides acted.

I had no desire (other than "yes") to directly answer an essay with such a tiresomely provocative title. But, reading it, your summary of it seems off. As to his final question, don't know what "acquiesce politely" means. There is not obligation to do that. I didn't with Bush, even after 9/11, which some seemed to deem required to avoid being a traitor. There are various means to protest there.

If the election was legit etc., yes, he would be the legitimate President -- the system in place opens the way for horrible presidents

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2016/05/book-review-michael-todd-landis-northern-men-with-southern-loyalties-the-democratic-party-and-the-sectional-crisis

it has various safeguards to deal with them of varying value. We got thru the Bush presidency, though he was a lot more credible than Trump (strong opponent of the guy but he was no Trump). We would get thru a Trump presidency (blacks got thru Jim Crow, we can get thru 4-8 years of Trump), but let's not, okay?
 

"The progressives bypassed and turned these checks and balances on their head by delegating absolute power to the regulatory bureaucracy"

False. There is not a federal bureaucracy that was not created by Congress, and there is not one that cannot be uncreated or defunded tomorrow if our regularly elected representatives wanted to do that.

"creating permanent appropriations (spending without the need of annual appropriations)"

Continuing resolutions which must be voted on are not 'permanent' appropriations. Like the totalitarian propagandist you continue to misrepresent the common understanding of words for hyperbolic effect.

"If our elected representatives seek to reverse a decree of the bureaucracy or a permanent spending appropriation, a progressive minority can use the constitution's checks and balances to stop the reform"

That is how our system works (the things you want to reverse passed through just such a system, reversing them must as well), but a Jacobin such as yourself of course resists it.

"our totalitarian system."

More disgusting hyperbole which deserves refutation every time it raises it's lazy and ugly head.

The term 'totalitarianism' was coined to refer to the regimes of fascist Italy, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. They were and are understood to involve 'absolute and oppressive single-party government' and 'strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression'. We do not have a single party government, we do not have a government that directs all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression. Critics of our government and whatever party happens to be in power are not repressed, tortured, killed or thrown into gulags, they are free, like you, to spout whatever anti-government nonsense comes into their heads. There are entire parties where they can go and with others do the same, large, wealthy organizations that will support them. Our system is as far from the totalitarian regimes as the boy scouts are from an English press gang.


 

Mr. W:

You admit that Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy are totalitarian political economies, but none of them fit your definition of totalitarian. None of them attempted to direct all aspects of their citizenry's lives and many of their actual attempts failed. See the Soviet new economic policy.

As I have partly noted, democratic socialist and progressive governments have extensively adopted fascist and socialist policies from the governments you have admitted were totalitarian.

The policies are all imposed by central unelected bureaucracies under threat of fine, imprisonment and property confiscation in both the nations you admit and those you deny are totalitarian.

I have been down your road and attempted to distinguish fascism, socialism an progressivism for my current book project so I could fashion amendments to address the problems in each, but I cannot find an honest structural distinction berween them.
 

The State IG will release a report tomorrow demonstrating that Clinton use of a private, unsecure email to conduct her State Department business violated the US Code and State rules and puts the lie to nearly every claim Clinton made concerning her email practices.

http://hotair.com/archives/2016/05/25/state-dept-ig-says-clinton-violated-rules-with-private-server/

Wonder if she made any if those lies under oath to Congress?
 

Bart, is your argument that because the 'all' part in the definition is not literally true the other parts don't apply? That's a bad argument, particularly so because your definition, like much of your rhetoric, contains the same kind of hyperbolic absolutes ('recognizes *no* limits').

Progressive governments have some characteristics that are similar to ones the totalitarian governments had, but using that to equate them is like saying that since the Nazis are vegetarians vegetarians are Nazis. Repression of dissent and opposition, mass violations of basic human rights, these are fundamental characteristics of the historical totalitarian regimes.

It's amusing how much your reasoning mirrors that of many leftists who label conservatives fascists (the fascists were uber-patriotic, revered the military and glorified war, conservatives are very patriotic, revere the military and glorify war, therefore fascism=conservatism). It's facile, at best, either way.
 

Mr. W:

The common elements of totalitarian political economies I noted above are shared by all socialist, fascist and progressive nations, but not any classically liberal government.

To the extent that a modern American conservative advocates a classically liberal political evonomy, the socialist and progressive slander equating that conservative to a fascist has no merit. Patriotism and waging war are not exclusive to any political economy.
 

"The common elements of totalitarian political economies I noted above are shared by all" industrial economies. FTFY.

"Patriotism and waging war are not exclusive to any political economy."

But of course they would just say that not at the levels that the fascists carried these characteristics out.

In fact, if you want a dividing line, you could say support for torture of the enemies of the nation. Modern day conservatives and the traditional fascist regimes would agree on that while virtually no modern progressive or liberal supports it.
 

Mr. W: "The common elements of totalitarian political economies I noted above are shared by all" industrial economies. FTFY.

They did not exist in the classically liberal United States until the New Deal or in the United Kingdom during its first and second industrial revolutions.

Once you realize that no government possesses the knowledge to direct even a simple economy, the totalitarian claim that a complex economy requires government direction is shown to be self serving nonsense.
 

Bart, the United States did not industrialize in any meaningful sense until after the Civil War. Right upon the heels of that we start to see the Interstate Commerce Act, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the progressive era. As I've long said, your beef is with industrialization (intellectual anti-industrialism is, interestingly, a common current of the classic fascist states [the Nazis famously glorified the rural German rural peasant above the urban factory worker, whom the Communists glorified).
 

The US was industrializing for half a century and was the wealthiest and most productive economy in the world before Hoover and Roosevelt gave us our first progressive depression. I do not see your cause and effect.
 

Off topic. Cartoonist Mell Lazarus passed away. (See today's NYTimes for obit.) here's a portion of a comment I put up at Econospeak years ago:

***
Some cartoons can be impressive. I had a Miss Peach comic strip by Mell Lazarus of many years ago on a wall in my law office. It depicted some of Miss Peach's students next to a banner "Future Lawyers of America Meet Here." A student asked "What do you hope to attain as a lawyer, Ira?" Ira, standing on a box, responded: "I hope to make my name a household word in the world of law. In other words, my ambition is to sue every man, woman and child in the United States." Mell used this format for other professions and jobs. I don't know if Mell is still alive and drawing, but I wonder what Ira or another classmate might say for "Future Economists of America Meet Here"?
September 13, 2009 at 6:30 AM

***

I still have that strip, along with others, in my laugh envelope of nostalgic office wall hangings to put things in perspective every once in a while. Thanks, Mell.
 

Bart, you seem to concede the US didn't meaningfully industrialize until about 1870. As you well know, and as anyone with a casual google search can verify, progressivism and progressive legislation soon followed. You can't attack 'progressives' over and over as you do and then, when it's inconvenient, try to hand wave the self-named movement away to the 1930s. The bottom line is that what you call progressivism seems, as a historical matter, to go hand in hand with industrialization. Every industrialized nation has, as you determine it, that system, and when you tried to offer up the early US as a counterexample it was quickly and easily disproved. Face it, your beef is with industrialization.
 

Mr. W:

There was no meaningful bureaucracy or (mis)directions of the economy until WWI and then on an ongoing basis after the New Deal.

The ICC approved railroad charges, a business which long predated the industrial revolution. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act never amounted to much of anything. Over 99% of the economy remained free.

The first impactful government regulatory bureaucracy was the Federal Reserve, whose creation also had nothing to do with industrialism. The Fed was key in causing the rampaging inflation of WWI and the 1920 recession, then the 1930-1932 recession a decade later.
 

So in your argument that 'progressivism' is akin to socialism and fascism you have to contest that the era commonly known as 'the Progressive Era*' doesn't count? That should be a sign something's wrong with your argument...

*https://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/glossary/progressive-era.cfm


BTW-your attempt to handwave away the ICC is interesting, as you yourself have noted it as a significant departure from classical liberalism before. The railroads, and their expansion, are a widely recognized critical aspect of industrialization.
 

Mr. W:

I have been researching this period for months for my book project.

Between 1891-1920, the populists, socialists and progressives became a political force. During this era, the two major changes to the classically liberal political economy were monetary (bimetallism and the Fed) and the establishment of a bureaucracy during WWI to direct the economy to support the war effort. Industrialization did not cause these changes. Most of the "progressive era" legislation to which you are citing had very little effect on the economy.

During this era, the closest we came to establishing a totalitarian system was the "war socialism" of WWI, but this ended up being no more than a dry run for the New Deal. The GOP almost entirely dismantled the WWI bureaucracy after the war in a "return to normalcy."
 

So the Harding/Coolidge Roaring Twenties, 8 years that led to the Great Depression early in Hoover's term, reflected a "return to normalcy"?
 

We survived.

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


 

Shag:

During 1921-1929, we enjoyed the fastest growing economy and productivity in the 20th Century. That includes the 1960s, Mr. W.

The Great Depression was the perfect storm of progressive misdirections of the economy.
 

So it was merely a coincidence that Harding/Coolidge with their 8 years (that included tough immigration laws) dumped on Republican-Progressive Hoover an economy that collapsed in less than 1 year? Hoover could not in just over three ful lyears reverse what Harding/Coolidge dumped on him. The 0.1% did rather well with the Tea Pot Dome Party.
 

What were the progressive policies that Hoover installed beginning in March of 1929 thatmade that Bib Bang in October of that year? Did Hoover change in that time period Coolidge's policies?
 

Shag:

The progressive Fed inflated the currency during the late 1920s and helped create the stock market bubble. The market corrected in late 1929 and then largely recovered by January 1930.

Hoover's first misdirection of the economy was implementing a "fair trade" tariff, which started a trade war and drove many exporters out of business.

The progressive Fed was raising interest rates and withdrawing money from the banks to mop up the fiat money it created earlier at the same time the exporters were defaulting on loans to their banks. The first string of bank failures started.

Like a good progressive, Hoover assumed that the best way to recover from the budding recession was to maintain demand by maintaining or raising wages. The president called in business leaders and jaw boned them into keeping wages high. Because business income was cratering, there was no money to pay these wages and businesses started laying off millions.

Like a good progressive, Hoover assumed the best way to address unemployment was to increase spending on public works. The president doubled spending to finance public works and imposed a millionaire's tax to pay for it. This was the most progressively punitive tax system in US history until arguably Obama. The economy completely cratered.

FDR came into office, doubled down on Hoover's misdirections of the economy and added the regulatory bureaucracy to the toxic mix. Recession turned into depression and the private economy did not recover until 1947.
 

"Most of the "progressive era" legislation to which you are citing had very little effect on the economy."

This is rich, as we have your own past words about how 'devastating' Wilson and other early progressives policies (the income tax, the Fed, the Clayton Act, the ICC, the Fair Trade Commission, the FDA, etc., etc.,) were. Again, you're running around constantly saying that 'progressives' are the same as socialists and fascists, but then you want to dissassociate the actual Progressive Era because it causes a problem for your worldview. That's bizarre.

What's interesting is that it actually wouldn't even help you if you were on to something, because by most measures of 'industrialization' the US wasn't an industrialized nation until around 1920 (when the urban population became larger than the rural) or later (when the % of the workforce and output from manufacturing became larger than the same from agriculture). There really is no period where we didn't have what you deem 'progressivism' alongside industrialization. So you still can't point to, with all the nations in the world as possibilities, nations which are industrial yet not 'progressive political economies.' Your beef is with industrialization.

"During 1921-1929, we enjoyed the fastest growing economy and productivity in the 20th Century. That includes the 1960s, Mr. W."

Are you sure about that? From this website http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2012/09/us-real-per-capita-gdp-from-18702001.html

I calculated the average for 1921-1929 and got 2.5, did the same for 1961-1969 and got 3.3.


 

BD: "Most of the "progressive era" legislation to which you are citing had very little effect on the economy."

This is rich, as we have your own past words about how 'devastating' Wilson and other early progressives policies (the income tax, the Fed, the Clayton Act, the ICC, the Fair Trade Commission, the FDA, etc., etc.,) were.


Now you are citing additional policies.

During the period I am discussing (1891-1920), the Fed and income tax did not start damaging the economy until the very end during WWI.

The Clayton Act was about as ineffective as the Sherman Antitrust Act. The FTC was the largely ineffective anti-trust bureaucracy.

The FDA was not created until the 1920s and did not become particularly intrusive until the New Deal.

Again, you're running around constantly saying that 'progressives' are the same as socialists and fascists, but then you want to dissassociate the actual Progressive Era because it causes a problem for your worldview. That's bizarre.

I am hardly dismissing what is more accurately called the populist and progressive era between 1891 and 1920. During this period, totalitarianism became politically viable and experimentation with some of its policies caused the severe 1890s and 1920 recessions. GDP growth fell from its previous average of 4.55% over the previous century to 2.55%.

I am merely noting that the initial wave of progressive programs were far less effective than progressive textbooks written by progressive academics would lead you to believe. The New Deal established the modern totalitarian political economy in the United States.

What's interesting is that it actually wouldn't even help you if you were on to something, because by most measures of 'industrialization' the US wasn't an industrialized nation until around 1920 (when the urban population became larger than the rural) or later (when the % of the workforce and output from manufacturing became larger than the same from agriculture).

:::sigh:::

If the US did not really become industrial until 1920, how did industrialism create progressivism over the previous three decades?

In any case, we are talking past one another once again. You were contending that progressivism was a necessary product of industrialism, when progressivism and all the other totalitarian "isms" were a backlash against the industrial revolution. This is a very involved topic and I would recommend the following books: Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform; Robert Weibe, The Search for Order; and Samuel Hayes, The Response to Industrialism. They are all written by progressive academics.
 

If you think that the Donald is the face of “fascism” you are quite wrong. Donald is a bourgeois liberal, albeit a populist one.

There is however a big question of constitutional legitimacy looming in this country. It seems to some people that democracy as a political system has become inimical to the continuation of the culture as a whole.

It is doubtful that this looming contradiction will be amicable to a peaceful resolution. What may result may make you pine for the sort of benign fascism that you imagine you will get with the Donald.
 

"It seems to some people that democracy as a political system has become inimical to the continuation of the culture as a whole."

I would say, rather, the failure of democracy. Large majorities have favored enforcement of immigration laws for decades, and it just doesn't happen. This isn't a result of democracy, it's a result of democracy ceasing to work for a growing number of issues.

Essentially what has happened is that Western nations have developed insular, self-perpetuating political classes, which are managing the system to assure that any future political leaders come from their ranks. These political classes have views distinct from the cultures they've managed to position themselves to rule over.

For any issue where the political class comes to an agreement, democracy stops working, because they see to it that all the viable candidates agree on that issue. At most they might permit a shallow illusion of diversity among the candidates, but then, if you elect the candidate espousing the view popular with the public, they contrive to fail to implement it, because they ARE in agreement with the political class, not the public, and only saying what they need to.

This is what has led to Trump. He had the resources to smash through their filter, he seized on a particularly important issue where the political class were especially in conflict with the general public, and the public, finally seeing a candidate who was willing to agree with them, gave him their support. And every attack on him from the political class fails, because the public have stopped listening.

It's possible Trump just represents the political class upping their game, and if that's so, I suppose the only next step is revolution.
 

"During this period, totalitarianism became politically viable and experimentation with some of its policies caused the severe 1890s and 1920 recessions. GDP growth fell from its previous average of 4.55% over the previous century to 2.55%.

I am merely noting that the initial wave of progressive programs were far less effective than progressive textbooks written by progressive academics would lead you to believe. The New Deal established the modern totalitarian political economy in the United States."

This is a classic example of how you cherry pick and then dodge when the implications of any particular pick become inconvenient. When you want to explain an economic disaster you find effective progressive programs, but when you don't want to acknowledge how closely progressivism followed on the heels of industrialization you handwave away the same programs as not effective examples of progressivism.

":::sigh:::

If the US did not really become industrial until 1920, how did industrialism create progressivism over the previous three decades?"

The sigh is all mine! My point has been that industrialization began meaningfully post-Civil War and that progressivism, as it has in every nation that industrialized, followed closely. *I'm not the one denying the Progressive Era.* But I am noting that even if one were to do that, industrialization (which is a process after all) hadn't resulted in what's traditionally thought of as an *industrialized* (notice the tense!) until...shortly before the period you're (now) accepting as the effective progressive one! In short, *either way you lose!*

It's odd you give sources arguing that the 'isms' as you call it were 'backlashes' to industrialization, since my argument is that many of the programs that you decry from the 'isms' are inevitable developments of industrialization (since every nation that has industrialized has developed them).




 

Brett, if your theory is right and Trump represents a clear break from this political class, if he then loses in November wouldn't that show that the political class was, after all, representing a majority view?
 

Depends on the manner in which he loses. My thesis is that we have a self-perpetuating group who are manipulating the system to keep themselves in power, and that group systematically disagrees with the public on many issues. They prevent democracy from working on those issues, by applying a sort of filter that prevents people who'd actually represent the public on them from being successful in politics.

Depending on how Trump lost, it could represent several things. If he abandons his distinctive issues in the general election, he'll lose because the public will perceive him as no longer their agent, but instead part of that clique.

If the media unite against him, it's just the political class succeeding yet again in subverting democracy.

But, if the polls showing his issues to be popular are mistaken, and he loses just because the voters disagree with him, you'd be right.
 

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Brett: Essentially what has happened is that Western nations have developed insular, self-perpetuating political classes, which are managing the system to assure that any future political leaders come from their ranks. These political classes have views distinct from the cultures they've managed to position themselves to rule over.

Precisely.

During industrialization, the college educated middle class in academia and the professions lost social status compared with and rebelled against the new class of industrial entrepreneurs. Ironically, the industrial revolution led by those entrepreneurs created a massive explosion of wealth, expanding and enriching the college educated middle class.

This college educated middle class invented and promoted socialism and then democratic socialism/progressivism under which they could man a bureaucracy to direct the economy and redistribute wealth by decree. This class came to dominate the new bureaucracies and advanced through politics as political appointees over the bureaucracies.

More recently, the college educated middle class took over the media and the bureaucracy directed financial sector.

This class has more recently turned into a restrictive caste where you must gain credentials from the proper schools, professional association and bureaucracies to gain entrance. The members of this caste intermarry and their children are far more likely to gain the proper credentials than are other Americans. They also self segregate into a relative handful of urban communities without much contact with the rest of America. Thus, their ideological and economic world views are sharply different than most other Americans.

I call them the Credentialed Caste.

Voters do not really understand the Credentialed Caste. An individual dictatorship has a human face against which people can rally. A bureaucracy is faceless and its denizens largely anonymous. All voters know is that their government is not implementing their will and, when they fire the party in power and replace it with the other party, nothing changes.

Trump is running a campaign exploiting the impotent rage of a large number of voters against this aristocratic system. Unfortunately for those voters, Trump himself became very wealthy gaming the system against which these voters are rebelling and is unlikely to work for the change they are seeking.
 

A plurality of Republicans supported a celebrity who was able to sell himself well against a weak field (all Cruz had to do was win the South and he would have given Trump a run for his money; there surely was a candidate out there who could offer that but perhaps Cruz's age suggests the new crop will come next cycle) while voicing populist rhetoric. He used fear here as well. His solutions were so fantastical that he himself is going back on them. But, populist leaders are often more about tone and message than actual governing. The conceit he is going to just delegate most of the stuff underlines this.

Trump isn't a conservative but neither is the electorate in various ways so his word salads and obvious b.s. (e.g., on abortion) are not quite as problematic in some ways as one might think. The Republican Party on various issues have gone over the top there and he can show himself as a "pragmatist" that is sane. What this means is (sort of like Bill Clinton) he will accept various things Democrats have done (see his comments on health insurance) and give it a Trump gloss. Since Republicans has refused to support majority will here, Brett has something of a point.

OTOH, the Republicans have ratcheted up the rhetoric about illegitimacy. At some point, one might be hung on one's own petard there. Trump is big on illegitimacy but he also can frame himself as an outsider. Of course, deep down, he was part of the system, aided by the various things people are concerned about. At 70, he is suddenly going to change? But, it isn't a lie if you believe it's true.

Finally, the fact he is a populist leader doesn't mean the concerns for "fascism" is not valid. The definition of fascism is "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization." He is quite nationalistic, speaking about America first. He is an authoritarian individual who promises the power of his will and negotiation skills -- he's a "pragmatist" with the rules loose -- will make America (note word) great again. He is using the right wing to get power and will use them in various ways (including likely judicial picks). He is fearful of opposition and open to loosening the 1A to stop it etc.

ETA: Trump has shades of a Reagan (he was a "deal maker" in action too, as it turned out), but Reagan had more positives including government experience, not as much as a "buffoon," and a more positive belief in America now. The situation was not quite the same, but there is some overlap.
 

So SPAM I AM! concedes he is a member of what I call the "Uncredentialed Caste." [Note: Sounds like SPAM I AM! just read David Brooks' NYTimes column today and incorporates it into his Luddite diatribe.]
 

Shag:

Brooks has done some interesting work on the sociology of the modern Credentialed Caste (which he calls a bit self servingly the educated class, since he is one of them).

However, the best book I have read on the genesis of the CC is Robert Weibe's The Search for Order.
 

I don't think "credentialed class" really captures what's going on. Doctors and engineers are credentialed, and upper middle class, but we're not part of the ruling class. Chelsea Clinton would certainly be a member of the ruling class, but what is she credentialed in? History, international relations, public health.

And her work hasn't had anything to do with her degrees, really. Make work jobs that were just to justify handing her huge sums of money.

Not all credentials count as credentials for this purpose. The credentials are almost beside the point.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Brett:

Especially after the mass expansion of university education over the past couple generations, not all university grads or those compelled by the government to obtain licenses are part of the Credentialed Caste. The CC is a subset of this larger group with its own identifiable sociology and politics.

The correct credentials from the right schools and other organizations rather than education in general are the entire point for this caste. It provides them with their economic and social status. David Brooks' Bobos in Paradise and to a lesser extent Charles Murray's Coming Apart explore this.
 

"If the media unite against him, it's just the political class succeeding yet again in subverting democracy."

Brett

But how could this happen considering "every attack on him from the political class fails, because the public have stopped listening."
 

"During industrialization, the college educated middle class in academia and the professions lost social status compared with and rebelled against the new class of industrial entrepreneurs."

What evidence of that is there that academics were so esteemed at this period (before industrialization)? The top class of the time, aristocrats, usually looked with something closer to scorn on 'higher education' (and most professions). I'm also not sure entrepreneurs suddenly gained status at this time.

"More recently, the college educated middle class took over the media and the bureaucracy directed financial sector."

More recently? Was there a time when the media or bureaucracy was not disproportionately staffed with people from better than average income and educated classes?
 

"But how could this happen considering "every attack on him from the political class fails, because the public have stopped listening.""

I don't think they're going to succeed in defeating him, frankly. I think he's going to win. Hillary could defeat the usual Republican nominee, who'd go into the general election with one hand tied behind his back, but Trump isn't going to be trying to make the media like him. He's going to be utterly unrestrained in attacking her.

Hillary has enormous vulnerabilities, which long time Democrats are mostly in denial about, having been habituated to treating any negative information about the Clintons as fraudulent, regardless of evidence. It's very easy to demonstrate that she's guilty of criminal acts, it's painfully obvious that she put government policy on the auction block as SoS, and Trump is going to tear her to pieces. He may not even get the chance, depending on what the FBI does in the next few weeks.

Mind, she has a solid floor under her, so many Democrats are indifferent to whether their candidates are criminals. But she can't win just on the basis of the solid Democratic base. She needs votes from the people who are still in play.
 

BD: "During industrialization, the college educated middle class in academia and the professions lost social status compared with and rebelled against the new class of industrial entrepreneurs."

Mr. W: What evidence of that is there that academics were so esteemed at this period (before industrialization)?


Once again, I recommend that you start with Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform; Robert Weibe, The Search for Order; and Samuel Hayes, The Response to Industrialism, in that order. Age of Reform won the Pulitzer Prize for History and is the best on the issue of social status.

Many of the college educated of the time were upper middle class "old money."

BD: "More recently, the college educated middle class took over the media and the bureaucracy directed financial sector."

More recently? Was there a time when the media or bureaucracy was not disproportionately staffed with people from better than average income and educated classes?


Before the 1960s and 1970s, the press was considered to be a craft which did not require university education.

The Credentialed Caste moved into media and finance in a serious way over the past two generations.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I find some of the remarks here having a fun house mirror quality but to be a bit optimistic about things guess I appreciate they are out there. Think in the long run, free expression -- even collision with error -- will be a positive thing.
 

Joe, how might your thought:

"Think in the long run, free expression -- even collision with error -- will be a positive thing. "

apply to Trump's free expression? The NYTimes has an interesting article on fascism internationally that includes the role of Trump as presidential candidate. When free expression is a controlled form of political Tourette's by candidates and their supporters, the truth may be difficult to find in the pile. Are you optimistic that the truth may surface and prevail?
 

Dealing with the likes of the Killer Bs is easier -- Mr. W. alone has brought a lot of truth in response. Trump hopefully will bring some truth too. Ultimately, I guess we need to trust the electorate. Democracy is put to the test sometimes & think Trump will lose. Won't guarantee it, but think some good will come in the end. Trump is also expressing things the party and others have in various ways, if in a more crude way. Anyway, that's the philosophy of our system -- free speech will net be positive.
 

"free speech will net be positive."

Not the least because the sort of people who'd abolish it are NEVER to be trusted. NEVER.
 

Not too far off topic because of Sandy's earlier reference to Hamilton/Burr:

Check out Allison L. LaCroix's review "The Rooms Where It Happened" in The New rambler of "Hamilton: An American Musical." A direct link is available at the Legal History Blog's Sunday book review feature. LaCroix's comments on historical aspects are quite interesting.
 

The context here really is private parties like blogs and private parties have the ability to keep out various types of speech as part of freedom. I guess we shouldn't "trust" a blog that doesn't allow comments (looking at you Jack Balkin!) or strongly goes after "trolls" etc. but figure many of them are still somewhat useful.

As to governments, my comment concerned the value free speech offers but part of it is the importance of limiting government. For instance, wouldn't want someone President who couldn't handle criticism and would use libel and other types of legal means tor retaliate. Speak here merely hypothetically, of course.

Both groups do regulate speech in various ways including in some cases not allowing certain types of speech. This is part of "freedom of" speech as compared to something akin to the Establishment Clause where anything "respecting" something is disfavored. We should be careful there too; guess on a basic level "trusting" the government should be done carefully though we do it on some level such as "trusting" a letter will be delivered or teachers will do okay with our kids (we don't send them with bears with cameras on them ... well guess some might!).
 

I take it Brett endorses lies and damned lies, which are foundational to fascism. Of course Brett may rely upon the words of Seinfeld's George Costanza: "It's not a lie if you believe it." Hopefully the net of truth over lies will keep free speech positive.
 

http://newramblerreview.com/book-reviews/fiction-literature/the-rooms-where-it-happened

Hamilton is something that unites various people -- sports, law, politics etc. -- on Twitter. Everyone loved it. Didn't see it myself but did enjoy "All the Way," the LBJ play that is now on HBO. The performance is at least half the thing, but did listen to the Hamilton soundtrack -- catchy.
 

Shag, I take the position that, if you empower the government to prohibit "lies" in politics, the party in power will simply declare anything the party out of power says to be a lie. Maybe not even entirely insincerely, either. But, they will.
 

Shag's position on the legal issue here might be of some interest but "endorsing" is something else. One can, e.g., think hateful speech should be legal without "endorsing" it. Anyway, Judge Kozinksi wrote a good opinion on lying:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/03/21/08-50345.pdf

(U.S. Supreme Court found the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional with two justices concurring on narrower grounds, Alito/Thomas/Scalia dissenting.)

As is, certain forms of lying -- defamation, perjury, false advertising etc. -- are actionable. But, as a general matter, one can be against it generally, but it is a bad idea to making lying criminal. But, not sure that was Shag's point.
 

Shag:

Lies and damned lies are foundational to socialism and progressivism as well.

The only way you can sell totalitarianism is to lie about about your support for liberty, democracy and limited government, as well as the constitution that enforces those principles.
 


Lies and damned lies are foundational to socialism and progressivism as well.

The only way you can sell totalitarianism is to lie about about your support for liberty, democracy and limited government, as well as the constitution that enforces those principles.
# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 11:11 AM


LOL

You're one of the worst liars I've ever encountered.

 

I'm old enough (just barely) to rememberFather Coughlin in the late 1930s, early '40s. He attracted a following in the Boston Area. I remember Father Feeney a few years later, who also attracted a following in the Boston area..While lies can be exposed, not everyone is interested in the truth, and constantly repeating lies means more and more people accepting the lies. SPAM I AM! uses this technique as does Brett. Yes, there are some remedies for lies, but their costs can be high. Government cannot stop lies per the 1st A speech and press clauses. But government can use the bully pulpit to challenge lies. And keep in mind that some who know of the lies will not not take steps to expose or dispel the lies.
 

As Joe points out (but neither SPAM I AM! nor Brett comments) in the Stolen Valor Act case the 3 strictest conservatives on the Roberts Court dissented on the basis that the Act was indeed constitutional. The decision in the the case was a plurality.
 

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