Balkinization  

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Donald Trump and Herbert Hoover

Sandy Levinson

Max Boot, a distinguished conservative "never Trumper," has a column in the Washington Post in which he writes, "I knew he would be a bad president--but even I didn't expect him to be Herbert Hoover-level bad."  I find this truly mystifying in at least two ways. First, at the time of his election, Herbert Hoover was a truly distinguished American. FDR actually hoped in 1920 that Hoover, an Eisenhower-like figure whose political loyalties were as yet unknown, would run for the presidency as a Democrat.  He was justly lionized for his leadership role in humanitarian efforts in Europe after the War.  Had he been elected prior to 1929, when all of the chickens of American capitalism came home to roost, I suspect he would be viewed as a pretty good president, given his Republicanism, and we would be lambasting whoever was unlucky enough to get the office in 1929.  Hoover was in part a victim of his own conservative ideology, what Schlesinger labeled "the crisis of the Old Order," but, riding my own hobbyhorse, I would also describe him as in part a victim of our fetish for separation of powers/parties that meant that Democrats, who won Congress back in 1930, had no incentive at all to help him achieve any of his policies designed to meet the Depression, lest they contribute to his re-election in 1932.  There's also the fact that nobody ever tied Hoover to any personal corruption.  He was a dedicated public servant who had, alas, some grievously mistaken political views.  It made sense for Harry Truman in effect to rehabilitate him by naming him head of the Hoover Commission to after World War II, and it is not offensive that the Hoover Institute is an important contemporary think tank. I don't want to be overly revisionist on Hoover.  He deserves most of the obloquy directed at him for his insensitivity, say, to the bonus marchers, etc., but, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, we know Donald Trump, and he is no Herbert Hoover.

Trump, as Boot well pointed and points out, is a narcissistic megalomaniac, perhaps suffering from dementia, who has no demonstrated capacity for any of the arts of genuine governance, including eliciting loyalty based on anything other than abject fear, or demonstrating the slightest empathy for anyone who is suffering the consequences of his own degraded policies.  We have simply never had a president so truly awful as Donald J. Trump.  He is truly in a class by himself.  Warren G. Harding appointed Charles Evans Hughes as Secretary of State and commuted the sentence of Eugene V. Debs (and then invited him to visit at the White House).  Andrew Johnson, a thoroughgoing racist, nonetheless expended considerable political energy to make sure that the Thirteenth Amendment was in fact ratified, which was not a foregone conclusion if, for example, William T. Sherman's advice had been followed and Appomattox been viewed as truly ending the War, with the consequent demise of "war powers."  Even the inept James Buchanan had one of the best resumes of any of our presidents, which, of course, calls into question exactly what we should be looking for in electing a president. But, unlike Trump, Buchanan actually knew a lot about government at every level. One should not "normalize" Donald J. Trump in any way, including mentioning him in the same breath as Herbert Hoover.  He is the equivalent of the Covid-19 virus with regard to attacking the health of the American constitutional order in a way that cannot be said of any of his predecessors. If he is not defeated in November, the American republic will be destroyed just as surely as the virus is afflicting the lives of sufferers around the world and, now, in the US itself (in part because of Trump's gross unwillingness to listen to those officials within "his" Administration who were predicting what has indeed come to pass.

Comments:

To be fair to Boot, I'm sure he meant only to refer to Hoover's handling of the Depression, not his personal character. A better example would have been Andrew Johnson.
 

"One should not "normalize" Donald J. Trump in any way, including mentioning him in the same breath as Herbert Hoover.", he said, mentioning him in the same breath as Herbert Hoover.
 

I checked the column and it does reference the Depression first so agree with MF though even on that ground Andrew Johnson actually was a politician with some real governmental skills and was chosen in large part because he was a Southern loyalist. He even made a serious effort to prosecute some people including Lee for treason but it didn't work out. Perhaps, "Herbert Hoover Depression level bad."

The whole message is on the money:

I knew he would be a bad president — but even I didn’t expect him to be Herbert Hoover-level bad. In a way, you almost can’t blame Trump for his epic incompetence: He is who he is. He didn’t deceive anyone. I blame the voters who elected him — and the senators who refused to impeach him. They should have known better. Because they didn’t, we will all pay a fearful price.

This is a bit off since people were deceived into thinking he was better than he was though the evidence was out there though some true believers want to believe things like "he has a high school civics view of the presidency" or something.

Not to worry. He owned the libs and put Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
 

The post mentions Trump and Hoover in the same breath in a different sense from that in which it urges that they not be mentioned in the same breath. It mentions them in the same breath in the sense of using them simultaneously. It urges that they not be mentioned in the same breath in the sense of emphasizing their difference. There is therefore no inconsistency. If my point is obvious, and you were just kidding, then I apologize.
 

Interesting, but yes, one may compare or mention them both, in the same breath. Hoover, delayed any federal aid to states during the great depression. Unlike Trump and the Fed, as erupted ( in more significant terms) they have launched massive federal aid ( also by the legislator ). One may read here in " Investopedia ":

https://www.investopedia.com/government-stimulus-efforts-to-fight-the-covid-19-crisis-4799723

While concerning Hoover, I quote from Wikipedia:

" The economy continued to worsen, with unemployment rates nearing 23 percent in early 1932,[168] and Hoover finally heeded calls for more direct federal intervention.[169] In January 1932, he convinced Congress to authorize the establishment of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which would provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads, and local governments.[170] The RFC saved numerous businesses from failure, but it failed to stimulate commercial lending as much as Hoover had hoped, partly because it was run by conservative bankers unwilling to make riskier loans.[171] The same month the RFC was established, Hoover signed the Federal Home Loan Bank Act, establishing 12 district banks overseen by a Federal Home Loan Bank Board in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve System.[172] He also helped arrange passage of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1932, emergency banking legislation designed to expand banking credit by expanding the collateral on which Federal Reserve banks were authorized to lend.[173] As these measures failed to stem the economic crisis, Hoover signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, a $2 billion public works bill, in July 1932.["

Here:

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

Correct,one should not compare, economic crisis, purely so v. such pandemic, yet, both bears economic issues.

Thanks
 

I diverge with the invaluable Professor Levinson here on two points. I certainly think little of Trump. But long time commenters here may remember that when he was running/first won election I said several times that Trump was going to be more Berlusconi than Mussolini. He's an incompetent, semi-literate, embarrassing lout, and his maladministration is certainly damaging, but I think his tenure falls far short of the end of the Republic.

I do think there are strong parallels between him and Andrew Johnson (the bigotry and lack of decorum) and Andrew Jackson (same things), but those two at least could at least be said to have shown character in being 'self made' men who knew something of what it is like to struggle in life. Harding is a perhaps the best US Presidential comparison (and I think Sandy gives too much credit to Harding).

Another point I will note where I diverge is that to focus on how terrible Trump is, however correct, is to miss the fact that he is more a symptom than a cause. Trump is perhaps the most popular GOP President with their base in modern times because he is the product and culmination of that Party's base becoming thoroughly dominated by paranoid conspiracy theory thinking. The party of Kirk, Burke and Lodge is now the party of Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh. The wackiest, most-mean spirited, half baked conspiracy theory thinking is the order of the day in the GOP base, we see it here from our two regular krazy konspiracy kook conservatives. It's fitting that Trump came on the political map pushing Birtherism, a truly nutty conspiracy theory laced with xenophobia and racism. This is what we are dealing with now in the Republican Party. These are not serious men. And they make up about 95% of the base of the current Republican Party. We are, and will continue to see, the ripple effects of this in Constitutional areas btw (note Scalia's talk radio-ish dissents in Romer and the immigration case or Thomas' [hilariously self-undermining] concurrence in Korematsu II [travel ban case]).
 

Mostly kidding, Henry.

But if I were Sandy, I'd probably refrain from talking about Trump. He's so over the top when he does it, he persuades nobody who wasn't already in agreement.

I've personally never understood the urge to insist that people you disagree with lack all possible virtues, are bad in every conceivable way. (And yet, somehow triumphed over you anyway! What does that say about the person making the complaint, that THAT could beat them?) Trump has been a passably good President, (Half the population hate him because he's a passably good Republican President, nobody with that particular defect would be materially more popular at this point.) and if Covid-19 has been something of a disaster, it would have been something of a disaster under basically any plausible administration.

I mean, yes, he tried, (And failed) to cut the CDC's funding. But how is this materially different from the Democrats' demand that the CDC spend its funding on things other than preparation for pandemics? When Republicans say, "It's the Center for Disease Control, maybe they should stick to controlling diseases?" we get roundly mocked. But would we be so bad off now if the CDC had done precisely that?

It is a fact of life that institutions not subject to existential threat end up devaluing their core function, (Because they can, and survive it!) and then fall short when their core function becomes important. The CDC and FDA are in that position now, and Covid-19 has exposed the rot. The rot would have been there no matter who had been elected President, it would have been exposed no matter who was elected President.

This trial by fire will burn away at least some of the rot, and leave our medical institutions better focused on their core purpose, medicine. A lot of stupid regulatory barriers to getting that job done will fall. I wish that it didn't take epidemics to reform medicine, but we live in a world ruled by the laws of thermodynamics, and everything rots if it is not forced to maintain itself by existential threat.
 

"The post mentions Trump and Hoover in the same breath in a different sense from that in which it urges that they not be mentioned in the same breath. "

Yes, but I think it might be even more basic than this. Of course if you see or hear or read someone mentioning X and Y 'in the same breath' and you think they shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath, *you're going to have to mention Y along with x in saying that.* It's hilarious Bircher Brett thinks he has something like a point here. But Birchers saying things that are actually hilarious when they were thinking they have made some slam dunk point is just Birchers being Birchers.
 

"He's so over the top when he does it, he persuades nobody who wasn't already in agreement.

I've personally never understood the urge to insist that people you disagree with lack all possible virtues, are bad in every conceivable way."

Every accusation is, of course, a confession with Birchers.

"And yet, somehow triumphed over you anyway! What does that say about the person making the complaint, that THAT could beat them?"

It's almost like it's been pointed out here many times before that everyone actually has to concede that terrible, incompetent, untalented, etc., people sometimes 'win' things (especially when those things are in large part popularity contests). History, pop culture, sports, etc., is replete with examples. Birchers seem to repeat arguments that get discredited easily and often because *they are never engaged in any serious conversation or thought in the first place.* They are 1. repeating talking points/propaganda and/or 2. expressing visceral feelings/suspicions.
 

Bircher Brett has found a new use for an old conservative canard: the CDC shouldn't have ever been involved in studying gun violence because it's not a disease. Therefore, Trump cutting funding for parts of the CDC and public health apparatus that focus on *the very thing we're dealing with now' is essentially 'both sides do it' because past Dems have wanted other parts of the CDC to study gun violence. This is really the level of 'reasoning' these people are capable of.

The more interesting thing is that Bircher Brett concedes this hasn't been handled well and is simply now trying to argue the Dems wouldn't have been any better. This is as close to self-reflection and doubt about the party line as a Bircher can come to and shows the panic (political obviously) they're feeling right now. It reminds me of when it suddenly started to dawn on conservatives that the Iraq war had been a debacle and W has mishandled it.

Give it a few years and Birchers will start saying Trump was never a real conservative anyway (I mean, he was a registered Democrat for a long time, amirite?).
 

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Sandy: Max Boot, a distinguished conservative "never Trumper," has a column in the Washington Post in which he writes, "I knew he would be a bad president--but even I didn't expect him to be Herbert Hoover-level bad." I find this truly mystifying...

The analogy is eminently predictable.

The Democrat media spends 24/7 fueling a panic over the severe cold COVID 19 and condemning Trump for not taking even more extensive dictatorial measures to destroy the economy in order to contain the cold. The facts the same Democrat media largely ignored the far more virulent and deadly H1N1 flu during the Obama administration and has repeatedly condemned Trump for being too dictatorial in the past suggest the current panic is being executed, at least in part, to convince voters to remove Trump from office in November.

To this end, establishment conservative "never Trumpers" are in full alliance with the Democrat media.

I find this truly mystifying in at least two ways. First, at the time of his election, Herbert Hoover was a truly distinguished American. FDR actually hoped in 1920 that Hoover, an Eisenhower-like figure whose political loyalties were as yet unknown, would run for the presidency as a Democrat. He was justly lionized for his leadership role in humanitarian efforts in Europe after the War. Had he been elected prior to 1929, when all of the chickens of American capitalism came home to roost, I suspect he would be viewed as a pretty good president, given his Republicanism, and we would be lambasting whoever was unlucky enough to get the office in 1929. Hoover was in part a victim of his own conservative ideology, what Schlesinger labeled "the crisis of the Old Order,"

Hoover was the leader of the progressive wing of the GOP (Harding and Coolidge ignored the man in addressing the Wilson caused 1920 Depression and its aftermath), his progressive policies were instrumental in causing the 1930-1932 recession, and FDR kept and often doubled down on those policies, all the while falsely scapegoating Hoover as a "conservative."

As a conservative, Boot should know better than to employ that false scapegoat of conservatism, but the tiny band of conservative public intellectual "never Trumpers" lost all sense of ideological logic some years ago in their personal hatred of the Donald.

Speaking of overwrought personal hatred...

Trump, as Boot well pointed and points out, is a narcissistic megalomaniac, perhaps suffering from dementia, who has no demonstrated capacity for any of the arts of genuine governance, including eliciting loyalty based on anything other than abject fear, or demonstrating the slightest empathy for anyone who is suffering the consequences of his own degraded policies. We have simply never had a president so truly awful as Donald J. Trump. He is truly in a class by himself.

Despite their best efforts to trash the country and then blame it on Trump, the Democrat media's own polling is suggesting their Democrat heavy polling samples heavily approve of both Trump's handling of the "Chinese virus" and the economy.

Democrat heads with half a clue must be exploding in news rooms in blue megalopolises across the country.
 

Yes, I argue that Trump would have cut CDC funding if he could have, and Democrats would have diverted the uncut funding to things irrelevant to fighting pandemics, and I don't see how these are functionally different, except that the Democratic approach costs more. Either way you don't have a CDC prepared to fight a pandemic.

And, of course Trump was never a real conservative. I've been saying that all along. He's a pragmatist, who correctly identified Republican conservatives as an under-served market, in much the same way as Murdock, no conservative, founded FOX.

 

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Either way you don't have a CDC prepared to fight a pandemic.

Democrats and serious Republicans support the CDC having the funds to fight a pandemic as part of its mandate. So, it's on Trump. He's in power. He has agency. It is not "Obama holdovers." It isn't "Democrats who divert funds" etc.

Your guy is in power. The buck doesn't stop over there.

And, of course Trump was never a real conservative.

The word "conservative" has various components and he shares some of them. At any rate, it is apparent you and others are wiling to take the bitter with the sweet, priorities, since he has the right enemies etc.
 

I was thinking about the various forms incompetence can take, and I think it's useful to list them:

1. Having a bad/evil goal (A. Johnson; Bush/Cheney, Iraq War)
2. Competently executing steps toward a legitimate goal, but failing to understand that those steps won't actually achieve the goal (Hoover; Bush/Cheney, Afghan War)
3. Inability to carry out the steps necessary to achieving one's professed goal (Bush/Cheney, Katrina).

Bush/Cheney demonstrated incompetence in the specified policies (and some others), but did show competence in other domains. Trump is a incompetent in senses 1 and 3 across *all* domains; that is, there is no sense 2 for Trump and there is no domain where he has demonstrated competence. That probably makes him unique, though BoJo may give him a run for his money.
 

"Either way you don't have a CDC prepared to fight a pandemic. "

1. This ignores that epidemiology is, like most fields, one with varied 'areas of interest' or specialties. This is good, because lots of things harm and kill people! But when you're facing a problem in one specific area of interest, cuts in the parts of the agency that deal with that area are more consequential than adding people to look at another ('diversion' is somewhat irrelevant here, the person specializing in X wouldn't be much help if told to focus on Y along with the experts in Y).

2. I'm guessing Bircher Brett has no evidence or idea if the amount of funding or attention or what have you 'diverted' to studying gun violence is =, < or > the cuts Trump made to the agencies focusing on what our current problem is. Note too that there's evidence that Trump's administration was told what we're currently dealing with was likely going to be a problem, and yet he still wanted to re-organize, cut, etc., in that area.

Again, this has been a bee in Bircher Brett's bonnet for a long time. A 'tool' he had lying around. Now that he's in a jam he picks up the tool from his toolbox. The screws are loose so he's grabbed his trusty hammer...

Again, this is a wonderful sign of his panic.

"of course Trump was never a real conservative"

This is escalating even faster than I thought, though exactly as predicated ;). Get popcorn folks, it's going to be interesting.


 

Trump has been a passably good President,

No. He's been a terrible President whose full impact is yet to be seen. He guts environmental protection, drives career professionals and scientists out of government in favor of partisan hacks, makes policy on a whim, undermines his own people, appoints wildly ideological judges, seriously damages longstanding alliances, lies constantly about everything, no matter how obvious the falsehoods, shamelessly tries to profit for his position, etc.

He held up aid to Ukraine for hs oen poitica ends. (Let's not have your BS defenses of that.)

His tax cut was at best not a very good idea, and unnecessary as the economy was doing fine without it.

He is mean-spirited - wanting to drive the unemployed off food stamps just as unempoyment is growing, and his party's proposal to aid those affected by the virus predictably excludes those hit hardest.

As for his response to the pandemic, it is just foolish to say Clinton, or even Jeb Bush or John Kasich or the ghastly Ted Cruz wouldn't have done better. They wouldn't have wasted two months talking about how it's no big deal, and how that was all because of their own wisdom. Maybe they wouldn't have been as "perfect" as Trump laughably claims he was, but they would have been a heck of a lot better.

So no. He hasn't been "passably good."
 

Yes, I argue that Trump would have cut CDC funding if he could have, and Democrats would have diverted the uncut funding to things irrelevant to fighting pandemics, and I don't see how these are functionally different, except that the Democratic approach costs more.

Why do you assume that themoey spent on studying gun violence would have come directly from money spent on fighting pandemics? It could come from cuts in lots of places, within the CDC budget and elsewhere in government. Maybe from all that tax money Trump handed out to his cronies.
 

"The Democrat media spends 24/7 fueling a panic over the severe cold COVID 19 "

First, the obligatory reminder there is no such things as a 'Democrat media,' at least nothing like the media arm of the GOP that is things like Fox, talk radio, etc.,

Second, anyone who turns on Fox will see the same COVID 19 panic, that tricky Democrat media!

Third, and connected, you can really see Bircher Bart traveling the path he did on the WMD's in Iraq here. He cheerleaded and cheerleaded, doubling and redoubling his propagandist efforts on that point even at got more and more hopeless for his side. Remember when even W, Rice, and Powell came forth and sheepishly acknowledged reality and that they were wrong all along? Bircher Bart kept on even after that. You can see that's happening now. Trump has left him. Fox has left him. Several GOP congresscritters, governors and others who were trying to soft-peddle this like Bircher Bart has have now walked it back. But just like the WMDs Bircher Bart is going to ride this horse all the way into the very lowest point of the valley of Wrongville and Crazytown. I mean, as Bircher Brett engages in the usual hedge (sure Trump's done bad, but no one could really have done better, it's just a mess of a situation, and heck he was never one of us anyway) and stage of conservative grief, Bircher Bart is going to do his usual and hunker down in the stage of hysterical, panic driven (political panic of course, not about people getting sick and dying) denial.

Get popcorn guys, this is going to get interesting.
 

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"there is no domain where he has demonstrated competence."

I think he has shown some competence in promoting bad goals.
 

"Why do you assume that themoey spent on studying gun violence would have come directly from money spent on fighting pandemics?"

Indeed, like them or not Democrats tend to think about these things in terms of just spending more money overall, it wouldn't have been 'either' money/attention on X or Y it would have been *adding* X to Y.

But, again, this has long been a bee in Bircher Brett's bonnet. That hammer is at the top of his toolbox, and this is a very lazy man. So it's little surprise he grabbed it in his desperation in feeling like he has to play the 'both sides' game now that Trump's situation becomes increasingly hard to defend in itself.
 

Mr. W:

Go watch three hours each of Fox News and CNN "hard news" programs (not the talking heads), then tell us all with a straight face the are both treating COVID 19 and Trump the same way.

:::rolls eyes:::
 

He's been passably good from the standpoint of a conservative, which I would not expect a left-winger to find passably good. Which is part of what I meant by saying that about half the population hates him because he's a passably good Republican President, and no other Republican President would have been significantly more popular.

You tend to assess competence in terms of whether somebody is pursuing YOUR policies, even if they ran on opposing your policies. The thought that they might be competently doing something different from what you wanted done doesn't seem to be thinkable.
 

byomtov at 11:44 offers a good list of Trump's terrible actions, except that he omits the worst and the second worst. The worst is kidnapping and torturing migrant children and in some cases perhaps preventing their parents from ever learning their whereabouts. The second worst is breaking up families who have lived in the United States for decades by deporting one parent. Few people, including Democrats, seem really to care about these horrors, or they would be making a lot more noise about them and would have included them among the articles of impeachment. Let's hope that the number of deaths resulting from Trump's management of the pandemic does not become the number one horror of his presidency.
 

Since others covered the ground, I deleted a longer comment, but will focus on this:

I've personally never understood the urge to insist that people you disagree with lack all possible virtues, are bad in every conceivable way. (And yet, somehow triumphed over you anyway! What does that say about the person making the complaint, that THAT could beat them?)

He owned the libs! Ha ha!

The first part is a mixture of "look in the mirror" and again "not really."

People disagree with other people regularly. But, Trump specifically gets a certain level of opposition and yes vitriol. There is always some degree of noise here. So, you can point out people using rhetoric about the other side.

But, Max Boot or even Sandy Levinson did not talk like this about other Republican presidents or presidential nominees. The comment that a range of other 2016 Republican nominees would have done better is not from someone I gather who thinks too many good things about the likes of Ted Cruz.

It still is apparent Cruz > Trump. Some things have been being said since ancient times. Some still don't get it. Worth repeating all the same. Some do get it and it is a continuing effort to set some floor of norms and proper behavior.
 

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Mista Whiskas at 11:08 makes a good point that, "if you see or hear or read someone mentioning X and Y 'in the same breath' and you think they shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath, *you're going to have to mention Y along with x in saying that.*"

The same would be true if we eliminate the "same breath" metaphor and say simply that to say that two things cannot be compared is necessarily to compare them. I think that what is going on here is conflating a comparison and a meta-comparison.
 

Brett:

Trump is most definitely a mixed bag for those of us who seek freedom.

I have not seen a more competent modern POTUS appointing constitutionalist judges or reforming regulation.

His tax reform was OK.

His signing off on bipartisan borrow and spend increases was awful.

However, his decision to lead the COVID 19 panic in order to escape media blame and get reelected is reprehensible. Panicked voters seem to like it, though.
 

Excellent post. It is no accident that one of the biographies of Hoover is called "forgotten progressive." But it is not quite correct to say that Congress would not cooperating with Hoover. Congress followed his recommendations on tax policy and public works spending in 1930. There also was legislation to provide credit to farmer, banks, and home buyers. And Congress passed, at his recommendation, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. None of this was enough to meet the needs, but to make things worse, he tried to balance the budget. Few in Congress complained, however, the idea of a balanced budget was a fetish generally shared in U.S. society. Indeed, the Democrats attacked him for deficit spending. So the picture is more complicated than Congress not wanting to give him credit.
 

"He's been passably good from the standpoint of a conservative, which I would not expect a left-winger to find passably good.

Mr. W. supported Pat Buchanan. Jennifer Rubin was a Jeb! supporter. Amash is a Tea Party Republican. Max Boot is not much of a "left-winger" either.

But, for some types of conservative, he was passably good. Depends on your priorities.
 

Sandy:

Come to think of it, the better analogy to Trump’s approach to COVID 19 in 2020 is to FDR in 1936. After the government trashed the economy, both employed massive borrowing and spending to create a false sense of well being to get reeected.
 

"epidemiology is, like most fields, one with varied 'areas of interest' or specialties."

It certainly isn't limited to diseases per se. They study things link obesity and alcoholism too.

"he's a passably good Republican President"

There's no doubt that Trump fits well within the current R party. That's a damning indictment.
 

the better analogy to Trump’s approach to COVID 19 in 2020 is to FDR in 1936. After the government trashed the economy, both employed massive borrowing and spending to create a false sense of well being to get reeected.

This betrays a remarkable ignorance of the facts. In fact the economy was recovering fairly well. Real GDP dropped 1.8% in 1933, and then grew 10.8%, 8.9%,12.9%, and 5.1% the next four years. It was only when FDR was convinced to abandon "borrowing and spending" that GDP declined again.

You know no more of economics and economic history than you do of percentages.
 

Henry,

Thanks for the additional items. I agree that they are among the worst things Trump has done. Whether they are the absolute worst or not is open to discussion, as there are so many awful candidates for that title.
 

Few people, including Democrats, seem really to care about these horrors, or they would be making a lot more noise about them and would have included them among the articles of impeachment.

The House had hearings on them and many Democrats made noise about it

Yes, the concern wasn't so high that it would be deemed a high crime and misdemeanor by the House as a whole. OTOH, the Ukraine Extortion Racket was seen as so bad that it was something a majority of the country deemed worthy of that.

The problem is ongoing, at any rate.
 

Yes, the House had hearings on them and many Democrats made noise about it, but the media every day should report the number of children still separated from their parents, the way that it once daily reported the body count of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam.

And Democratic politicians should be talking about the horror daily and trying to do something about it. It is shocking that ACLU volunteers are in Latin America searching for parents who were illegally deported (having been denied the opportunity to apply for asylum) without their children. How about a bill to hire a massive number of federal employees to do this job?
 

"But, Max Boot or even Sandy Levinson did not talk like this about other Republican presidents or presidential nominees."

I've looked at polling on support for Presidents coming from their own party, and the opposition party, going back to Eisenhower. Partisan polarization has been increasing through that time, and not linearly. Yes, Sandy did not talk like this about other Republican Presidents. He will about future ones.
 

The thought that they might be competently doing something different from what you wanted done doesn't seem to be thinkable.

Well, if conservatives favor cruelty-based social and immigration policies, science-free environmental and health policies, and foreign policy based on spite, ego, and chest-pounding stupidity, I guess he is doing that. No doubt some conservatives are for all that.
 

"Go watch three hours each of Fox News and CNN "hard news" programs (not the talking heads), then tell us all with a straight face the are both treating COVID 19 and Trump the same way."

Of course I never said they were talking about *Trump* the same way. I said "anyone who turns on Fox will see the same COVID 19 panic." In defense of Trump (an effort which has seen him say publicly here that we would support Trump even if Trump murdered someone, that there was 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for an investigation into Biden, etc.,) Bircher Bart has been cheerleading the initial Trump stuff about COVID not being a big deal (and so Trump can't have mishandled it). Remember he called it 'the sniffles' (now he's backpeddling, upgrading it to a 'severe cold' at least).

But Fox news isn't treating Covid as the sniffles. Trump now isn't, and everyday more and more GOPers who took that stance are walking it back. But Bircher Bart is in for the long haul, still blaming 'Democrat media' for the alarm about it. He's following the same progression he did about WMD's where he stood stamping his feet and insisting they were there even after W. Rice, Powell, and other conservatives finally and sheepishly conceded it had been wrong all along.

This spiral is going to be interesting. Get popcorn folks!
 

"You tend to assess competence in terms of whether somebody is pursuing YOUR policies, even if they ran on opposing your policies. "

Every accusation is, of course, a confession.

But this confession is even more telling than usual.

A key problem with Birchers like Brett and Bart is that they are 100% unable to think of things like 'expertise,' 'professionalism' or 'competence' divorced from or abstracted from partisanship. There is no good or best way to deliver the mail,pave the road, etc., instead there are better or worse Republican ways to deliver the mail, pave the road, etc. And they imagine everyone else thinks the same way, just with the partisanship reversed (and, of course, they living in a Manichean world, the other way is and can only be Democrat or liberal).

Let me give you an example. As Joe noted, I voted for Pat Buchanan for President when he was the Reform Party candidate. I voted Reform for years and worked to help build the Party btw.

Now, I imagine few of the liberals here like much about Pat Buchanan. He was doing the anti-immigrant, America first, protectionist thing before that was 'cool' in GOP circles. He was definitely a conservative culture warrior (his biggest drawback in my eyes even then). His conservative bona fides really can't be questioned.

But there is a huge difference between Buchanan and Trump. Buchanan is a very smart man, whether you like or don't what he uses those smarts to come to there is no real question that he has a very good sense of rhetoric, logic, knowledge and intelligence. That's why he was the perennial face of conservatives on debate type shows like McLaughlin Group and Crossfire. He could quickly, on the spot, come up with intelligent responses and things to say. He regularly wrote columns that displayed a mastery of English prose and drew upon history, economics, etc., (even if you think his ultimate take on them was wrong.). He went to, and excelled at, Georgetown and then got his Masters from the Columbia School of Journalism (known as the best in the nation in that area). He was a journalist and editor of at least one major paper I can recall.

Trump in comparison can barely write or speak a complete sentence. He gets confused, angered, etc., by the most softball questions, goes off on weird, incoherent tangents, writes in semi-literate ways (incomplete sentences, strange punctuation, excessive use of things like capitalization, exclamation signs, etc.,). He has little sense of decorum and professional manner in a job in which those things are critical.

These are *generally* taken as signs of questionable competence in the world when politics is not in the question. If you owned a company and the CEO applicant before you acted like Trump you would, normally, find it as disqualifying and too risky to take on.

Now, look, I've been around for a while and am fair enough to say that this is not an *absolute* sign of incompetence. Some people have trouble speaking well, especially off the cuff, have childish decorum and impulse control, and yet can be competent people who get things done in some areas. The odds are against it, but it is a thing in the world.

Maybe Trump is that guy (you'd have to look at his track record then, which I'd argue isn't good). But a major tell about Birchers like Brett is when they say 'well, the only way a person could think Trump lacks competence is they don't like his policies.' This shows that Birchers like Brett are either 1. not being serious or 2. just don't know how to recognize, think about or value 'competence,' 'professionalism' etc., in life.

Either one is partisan incoherent.
 

I've looked at polling on support for Presidents coming from their own party, and the opposition party, going back to Eisenhower. Partisan polarization has been increasing through that time, and not linearly. Yes, Sandy did not talk like this about other Republican Presidents. He will about future ones.

So, from before Brett was born, party polarization was increasing.

But, "I've personally never understood the urge to insist that people you disagree with lack all possible virtues, are bad in every conceivable way" only should apply prospectively? I'm less shall we say pessimistic about the future of Republican presidencies. And, in the past, Brett sung a different tune. It was "what is being said about Trump is nothing new really ... the left has been like this for years."

Anyway, again, not just "left" leaning types think Trump is doing a bad job, even if the model being followed is "being a conservative." As noted, given the state of the Republican Party, him doing "pretty good" as one leaves something to be desired too.
 

"The same would be true if we eliminate the "same breath" metaphor and say simply that to say that two things cannot be compared is necessarily to compare them. I think that what is going on here is conflating a comparison and a meta-comparison."

Well said Henry.

I think Bircher Brett has had some realization that what he initially thought was a key own of liberal Sandy wasn't (hence his 'just joking mostly, let's move on to X').

It reminded me of the oft heard line from conservatives 'you're decrying the intolerance of neo-Nazis but in doing so aren't you being intolerant of them yourself' line that they really seem to think is profound or something.
 

"Partisan polarization has been increasing through that time, and not linearly. Yes, Sandy did not talk like this about other Republican Presidents."

W Bush's approval rating among Democrats, sans a couple outlier polls, was in single digits his last two years in office.

If Bircher Brett's quarter baked theory were defensible Sandy would have certainly given him the same treatment.


 

Byomtov:

The measuring stick for the Great Depression is the “1920 depression.”

Wilson’s WWI hyperinflation and misdirections of the economy, followed by the new progressive Fed cranking up interest rates to stop the hyperinflation cratered the economy in the severe recession known as the “1920 depression.”

Harding/Coolidge responded by slashing government and taxes, resulting in a short recession followed by the Roaring 20s.

Hoover spent three years misdirecting the economy and the progressive Fed again cranked interest rates to sop up easy money they creted in the late 1920s, creating the 1930-1932 recession.

Instead of following the Harding/Coolidge model, FDR doubled down on Hoover’s progressive taxes, borrowing and misdirections of the economy, borrowing heavily from fascist Italy (NRA) and Germany (CCC). The private economy remained cratered and unemployment remained high. The economic growth projections supporting the New Deal equate government make work programs to private industry creating useful goods and services.

The private economy did not fully recover until 1947, when the New Deal and WWII taxes, borrowing and misdirections were majorly reversed.
 

I agree with the byomtov's earlier reply to Henry as well.

I also think the specific wrong about children here is a product of a wider one and it has been addressed repeatedly. A criticism of "not enough" is not really worth trying to refute. If sanity wins in November, we will continue to not do enough.

I personally spoke about supporting a wider impeachment inquiry. The Nixon investigation occurred in a different environment. But, we can compare that to this, and see the various things it covered. Again, differences, and it was an extended process. John Hart Ely Jr. was addressed here recently. He once noted that he felt Nixon's actions in the Vietnam War should have been addressed more there too.

There is something of a parallel here. The impeachment was narrowly drawn to focus on not only something a majority of the people ultimately agreed was wrong and even worthy of removal but a repeated threat to the basics of republican government. As a new presidential election was already starting. That is what Adam Schiff said, including why the whole thing was so time sensitive.

Yes, treatment of children should be essential too and it is basic wrong in this country that it isn't deemed a clear and present danger as well in a related way too.
 

But the trouble has been, for decades, when you find the Republican contender totally unpalatable, the only alternative is a (socialistic) Democrat. I'd be happier in a parliamentary democracy where my (forced) libertarian choice could wield considerable influence.
 

Mr. W:

I intentionally referred to both Covid 19 and Trump. You expect the Democrat media to slander Trump. More evilly, the Democrat media is repeating the most groundless and outrageous projections as established scientific fact, such as the insane claim by a single presenter at an American Hospital Association sponsored conference of a million dead as an official AHA projection. Fox News mostly does not follow suit.
 

Mark, I'd like to talk more about your classifications, as it gets us back to the OP after having to deal with our trolls.

I think part of the problem is that when Sandy talks about 'awful' Presidents that has (at least) two dimensions.

Dimension one is awful in the sense of morally. Thus he gives Johnson credit for working to get the 13th passed and Harding credit for pardoning Debs (I agree the pardoning of Debs was the right thing to do, but I wouldn't give Harding too much credit here, at least not enough to counter his massive shortcomings in other areas). This dimension is actually to a large (though not completely) degree with what Bircher Brett talks about here: it hinges on what you think about policy goals. One person's 'appoints judges that regulate women's choices about their bodies like the Handmaid's Tale' is another persons' 'saved babies from the abortion apocalypse.' It's just that as we get distance from a position today's conservatives finally distance themselves from yesterday's realizing that *those people, back then* were *of course* doing *awful things,* but the things alleged as awful today are, of course, *totally different!* Thirty years from now Bircher Brett's son (if he keeps his dad's politics and/or hasn't been deported back to the Philippines ['go back to where you came from'] by Trump types) will be on a website arguing 'well *of course* people were awful for not supporting X, but this Y we're talking about now is *totally different!*'

Dimension two is the awful of incompetence. And this has two sub-dimensions I think:

Sub-dimension A-incompetence in carrying out policy. This involves the leaders/advisors being not very smart, curious, reflective, trained people, and so they can't carry out even believed in/professed goals very well.

Sub-dimension B-incompetence in the sense of being unprofessional and lacking in any sense of decorum. This involves making policy out of petty spite, lack of restraint/impulsiveness in public pronouncements, failing to represent the nation well, etc.

I submit that Trump has a mixed bag on A. To put it one way, he and his team are fairly (passably?) competent in trying to realize Republican partisan political goals. They turn to the Federalist Society, they turn to those who really want to limit immigration and have been thinking about it, and they make policy at least passably competently in this area. On the other hand, as I mentioned, a lot of government has to do with achieving 'bi-partisan' goals such as delivering the mail, paving the roads, keeping us safe. Trump's team is terrible at this *because* modern conservatism which infuses it *doesn't believe in/value* this. They eschew 'expertise' or 'professionals.' Like Jacksonians they think the virtues of patronage-correct political values- > than 'professional competence.' And so their terrible with dealing with something like COVID, because COVID isn't Republican or Democrat. For them to deal with is like a fish dealing with a typewriter.

Trump also dismally fails on sub-dimension B. This is just obvious to anything with more intelligence than an amoeba. He's a boorish lout.

Note, subdimension B can overlap with A. Part of what we want and need from a President is displaying a sense of 'I got this, it's going to be ok.' Markets and other things are impacted by this or the lack of it. And Trump lacks it, and most people who aren't deluding themselves know it.

 

So, where does Trump stand on my classification?

Well, where he stands on the first dimension is largely determined by your policy preferences. Some people will say it's awful, in the sense of immoral and criminal, to separate families in enforcing immigration laws (I understand this stance, but I personally don't put much into it, any nation with borders it enforces is going to run into this, while Trump has handled this badly at times it's not particularly egregious to me [though, again, I can see how it is for others]). I do think that if you take modern conservatism for what it is, he really has been 'passably' good at giving them what they've been dying for for a decade or more (now, what they've been dying for is extremist Bircherism, but that's something else to talk about).

On the second dimensions, Trump is close, but I think right now no shoo-in, to an unprecedented failure. I mean, Andrew Johnson literally was sworn in drunk iirc. There's that line from Boardwalk Empire about Harding: 'that f*cking imbecile is going to be the next President of the United States!' Truman threatened to punch a critic of his daughter in the face. LBJ was incredibly coarse, and JFK turned the White House into something akin to ancient Babylon (he was a priviliged, pill addicted, incorrigible womanizer).

This isn't to absolve Trump. He's *terrible.* Anyone who supports him has sold their sold or mind a long time ago. But these kind of terrible Presidents are, unfortunately, more common than we'd like to admit (this is true for other nations too, which is why I mention Berlusconi).


 

"Byomtov:

The measuring stick for the Great Depression"

Look, this is a nut.

This guy guaranteed a Romney Presidency.

This guy argued for Iraq's WMD even long after W and his administration admitted they were wrong all along about them.

This guy argued he would support Trump even if he committed a plain murder.

This guy said there was 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for an investigation of the Bidens *after the WH quasi-transcript showing just that had long been released.*

This guy has been soft-peddling COVID as 'the sniffles.'

Who in the world would listen to him on 1930's economics?

This is not a serious man. This is a nut. Partisan incoherent.
 

"I intentionally referred to both Covid 19 and Trump."

Lol! Bircher Bart is worried, he realizes he's going down that familiar path again...Trump, GOP officials, and Fox have left him in his push that Covid is just 'sniffles.' He's on his way to full WMD level abandonment *again.* What the frack is wrong with this guy that he can't learn from his earlier hilarious goofs? Well, it's what's wrong with conservatism in general. This is a mainstream conservative my friends, let's remember this as his position once again becomes more and more untenable yet he applies Saint Palin's advice to not reflect and question but to 'reload.'

"Fox News mostly"

Boy, that 'mostly' is doing a lot of work!

Let's get popcorn fellows, and watch Bircher Bart's inevitable, predictable spiral.

Will he learn anything this time?

Don't hold yer breath!
 

Mr. W:

Going through life willfully ignorant and telling lies is no way to live.

Away with you.
 

MW: You description of categories is reasonable. I'm not sure how much credit I'd give Trump for the Federalist judges or the tax cut -- too many other people involved -- but I can see the argument.

I naturally have disagreements with how you apply the standards because my substantive politics are quite different.
 

"Going through life willfully ignorant and telling lies is no way to live."

LOL!!!

Look, this is a nut.

This guy guaranteed a Romney Presidency.

This guy argued for Iraq's WMD even long after W and his administration admitted they were wrong all along about them.

This guy argued he would support Trump even if he committed a plain murder.

This guy said there was 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for an investigation of the Bidens *after the WH quasi-transcript showing just that had long been released.*

This guy has been soft-peddling COVID as 'the sniffles.'

Who in the world would listen to him on 1930's economics?

This is not a serious man. This is a nut. Partisan incoherent.
 

"This guy argued for Iraq's WMD even long after W and his administration admitted they were wrong all along about them."

I don't remember what they admitted, but I'd quibble with "they were wrong." It should be "they lied."
 

Bart,

Your description of 1920-21 is drivel.
 

byomtov:

Here is a reading list for your education:

James Grant, The Forgotten Depression: The Crash that Cured Itself (New York: Simon and Schuster 2014)

Robert P. Murphy, “The Depression You’ve Never Heard Of: 1920-1921,” The Freeman (November 18, 2009).

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “The Forgotten Depression of 1920,” Mises Daily (November 27, 2009).
 

Henry:

Go read the official report of the Iraq WMD group. They found over 500+ unreported chemical weapons and WMD manufacturing infrastructure at multiple locations around the country.

The military published nearly a million captured Iraqi intelligence documents online for crowd translation. As reported briefly in the NY Times and more extensively on various conservative blogs, a Jordanian-American engineer translated plans for a nuclear weapon and notified DoD, who immediately took the documents offline.

Bush 43 did not find the number of WMD they expected, but they did find WMD along with manufacturing and research facilities.
 

The combination of selective perception and wishful thinking makes a person prone to look like an idiot, doesn't it?

It would be one thing if Hoover had insisted, while the financial crisis was taking place, that it was just a "blip" and railed against the media, apparently believing it was a PR problem.

Sure, there may not have been anything Hoover could have done, locked in to his ideology. But that's not the same as rampant wishful thinking. The former is merely a limitation that often afflicts engineers and other "practical men." The latter is a disconnect from reality.

If a person is lucky, it's possible to live one's entire life without being forced to realize that the universe revolves around one. The problem with that is that, if one gambles long enough with an opponent with infinite resources, eventually one is ruined (this is the "Gambler's Ruin" problem from probability.) And if one is the leader of a nation, that ruin will not fall on just the person who gambled.


 

Missing words: "only when one is drunk" -- it is left to the reader to put them in the appropriate spot...
 

Bart,

I'm familiar with the narrative those people put forth. Even if it were accurate, which is doubtful, it would hardly mean that an approach that worked then would have worked in the Great Depression, for any number of reasons.

Downturns differ in their causes and cures.
 

Byomtov: Even if it were accurate, which is doubtful, it would hardly mean that an approach that worked then would have worked in the Great Depression, for any number of reasons.

Removing Wilson's progressive policies turned the 1920 depression into the Roaring 20s.

The substantial removal of Hoover and FDR's progressive policies in 1946 allowed the private economy to substantially recover.
 

"They found over 500+ unreported chemical weapons and WMD manufacturing infrastructure at multiple locations around the country."

Lol, Bircher Bart can't help himself, even when those who led him into the valley of fools have admitted they were long wrong.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/colin-powell-u-n-speech-was-a-great-intelligence-failure/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-11680239




This is not a serious man. Anyone who would listen to him in other complicated subjects, like macroeconomics or epidemiology is likewise.
 

Removing Wilson's progressive policies turned the 1920 depression into the Roaring 20s.

The substantial removal of Hoover and FDR's progressive policies in 1946 allowed the private economy to substantially recover.


Oh stop it. You're just trolling now.
 

Oh stop it. You're just trolling now.

Our dearly departed member a long time ago started to call him "Spam."
 

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Going through life willfully ignorant and telling lies is no way to live.

Away with you.
# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 2:52 PM


You've lost your fucking mind.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Byomtov:

You might want to read some history. The cause and effect is pretty stark.

At the end of WWII, we removed the Hoover trade barriers, slashed government spending in half, eliminated all the war taxes and lowered the effective tax rates, all but stopped borrowing, and reversed many of the New Deal and WWII misdirections of the economy.

Many New Dealers predicted a return to depression without government "stimulus" and direction. Instead, the economy took off on its own.
 

It's always amusing to see Bart touting some cause-and-effect relationship in a complex situation (know what else happened at the end of WWII that might have stimulated the economy? The war ended, and with it rationing, labor shortages, etc, etc.) but ... on climate change and CO2, he insists that not only is there no "correlation" (whatever he thinks that might mean), but definitely no possible cause-and-effect relationship.

A clearer instance of ideological selective perception problems is hard to find.
 

Bart,

Do I really need to point out that starting in 1939 - once the premature balanced budget was abandoned - and all during WWII, GDP grew massively? I guess so, because you seem to think the economy was in recession until 11947.

In fact, there was a drop, no doubt due to the end of wartime spending, in 1945-7, with 1946 seeing an 11% fall. Significant sustained growth began in the early 1950's.

As to your suggestion that I "read some history," I have no response suitable to posted here.
 

C2H5OH said...It's always amusing to see Bart touting some cause-and-effect relationship in a complex situation (know what else happened at the end of WWII that might have stimulated the economy? The war ended, and with it rationing, labor shortages, etc, etc.)

Thus, my notation: "slashed government spending in half, eliminated all the war taxes and lowered the effective tax rates, all but stopped borrowing, and reversed many of the New Deal and WWII misdirections of the economy."

I commend you for not offering the reprehensible argument that WWII pulled us out of the depression.

but ... on climate change and CO2, he insists that not only is there no "correlation" (whatever he thinks that might mean), but definitely no possible cause-and-effect relationship.

Excellent comparison to demonstrate the meanings of correlation and causation.

Following both the 1920 Depression and WWII, less government meant more economic growth. This is correlation suggesting causation. Add more examples like the Reagan and Trump administrations and counter examples like Carter and Obama, then the case for causation becomes stronger.

Since the Industrial Revolution, human CO2 emissions rose exponentially (yes, that is the proper term), while average temperatures slightly bounced. No correlation between exponentially rising CO2 emissions and slightly bouncing temperatures means no causation.
 

Bircher Bart is a self-styled 'Austrian' economist. To the extent there's a methodology to his economic 'analysis' it is to look at a time frame, find an instance of 'anti-market' or 'pro-government' policy/spending and blame anything bad on it and find an instance of 'pro-market' or 'anti-government' policy/cutting and credit anything good for it. So if you bring up the 90's boom under Clinton after THE GREATEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY (as the conservatives criticized it at the time) then he will say it was the slightly later capital gains tax cuts that made the economy boom (though you can bet your bippy that he was there with the rest of the GOPers BEFORE the boom predicting economic fall because of the GREATEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY).

But again this is a man who guaranteed a Romney Presidency, still argues there were WMDs in Iraq after W, Rice, Powell and everyone else involved conceded there were not, recently argued (after release of the WH quasi-transcript) that there was 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for an investigation into Biden, concocted an absurdly hilarious conspiracy theory that the Trump appointed and Trump donor US Attorney in NY was politically prosecuting Michael Cohen and L. Parnas to hurt Trump, and other krazy kooky konspiracy theories. This is not a serious man. This is partisan incoherent.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

byomtov said...Do I really need to point out that starting in 1939 - once the premature balanced budget was abandoned - and all during WWII, GDP grew massively?

I knew someone would offer the reprehensible argument that war creates economic growth.

An economy is people producing and trading goods and services they need and want. Those goods and services constitute wealth.

In WWII, we borrowed a year's GDP to pay over 20 million working age people to do nothing but kill people and destroy their wealth. We employed much of the rest of the working age population to create weapons and supplies which served no other purpose than to kill people and destroy their wealth. In doing so, we killed a quarter million working age people KIA and wounded three times that number. Meanwhile, the remaining civilian population lived on rationed goods and services.

Effectively, WWII was no different than borrowing a year's GDP, putting the cash in a big pile and burning it; then going town to town and killing a couple working age men and maiming three times than number.

Counting this colossal waste of people and wealth as "economic growth" (like counting government make work during the Depression) is one of the fundamental fallacies of our GDP calculation.
 

"less government meant more economic growth"

As I've pointed out to Bircher Bart many times the highest average GDP increase in our post-Civil War history was the 1960's coinciding with that famous time of free-market austerity...The Great Society of LBJ...

It should also be noted that Bircher Bart's macro-economics are particularly ridiculous in that things like the Great Depression (and the recent Great Recession) were INTERNATIONAL phenomena. The entire approach of saying that 'well, Obama or Carter or Hoover caused the Great Depression/Recession' is ridiculous. They occurred across wide swaths of nations with different governments and policies. As if often the case, Bircher Bart massively concocts simplistic answers to complex questions and then attaches a massively foolish overconfidence to his answers.

"No correlation between exponentially rising CO2 emissions and slightly bouncing temperatures means no causation."

Another example of Bircher Bart's illogical thinking.
A simple example can show this: a young person with a high metabolism can 'exponentially' increase how much they eat with a, in the short term, a relatively slight (but significant) increase in their weight. Only a fool would argue 'well, the increase in the food intake was exponential but the resultant weight gain isn't, so the former can't be said to cause the latter.'

A fool or a non serious man.

Or both?

 

You see, one way Austrian Birchers like to argue about the economy is to just make an argument that they're correct by definition (they do this in part because they're very bad at and often too lazy to do or don't understand the importance of doing actual scientific prediction and hypothesis testing analysis, instead they use cherry picking 'just-so stories' analysis and this kind of 'a priori' 'science.'). So here what they do is they just say that by definition government sponosored productivity, like the CCC or war efforts, 'don't count' as economic production. They have to do this because by the very empirical measures that are standard in the field productivity often correlates nicely with government growth and control. So they just say that 'doesn't count' by 'definition.' Their definition, of course.

These are, though, of course not serious men. Any man trained to be a country lawyer who seriously puts forward that they have solved the problems of macroeconomic theory, political science analysis, climatology, epidemiology (all of which Bircher Bart has opined confidently on just recently), all in a way counter to the thousands of people around the goal actually trained and working in those fields, is a most silly goose indeed. One might even say a loon.

A not serious man. A partisan incoherent.
 

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Mr. W:

In economics, I repeatedly note what works and what does not. FWIW, I start with a foundation of classic free market economics, add Austrian insights concerning market knowledge, add monetarist insights concerning the affect of money supply, and then add Laffler's insights concerning the affect of income tax rates.

The US over its first century or so, the UK during the industrial revolution and other nations which partially liberalized over the past couple centuries serve as proof the above free market theory is basically correct.

In contrast, the repeated failures of totalitarian political economies (communism, socialism, fascism, corporatism, progressivism, etc), all employing similar policies of government direction of the economy and redistributions of the resulting wealth, form the negative proof the above free market theory is basically correct.

Indeed, evidence against the latter is so overwhelming that adherence to a totalitarian political economy is almost completely a matter of faith and willful ignorance.
 

Mr. W: As I've pointed out to Bircher Bart many times the highest average GDP increase in our post-Civil War history was the 1960's coinciding with that famous time of free-market austerity...The Great Society of LBJ...

Kennedy/Johnson substantially cut progressive income tax rates and the regulatory burden had not significantly increased since WWII. Businesses had long since worked around the surviving New Deal/WWII regulations. This period was actually the last with substantially increasing economic productivity. Johnson's "War on Poverty" expansion of the welfare state actually went into full effect after his administration, beginning the infamous cycle of poverty destroying families and paying people to remain under and unemployed.

Along with the expansion of the welfare state, the 1970s saw inflation increased effective tax rates and the first massive surge in regulation since the New Deal/WWII, resulting in mass stagflation. There was no post-WWII reversal of the regulatory burden this time. With pauses, the regulatory burden relentlessly increased and economic productivity increases shrank, until reaching nearly zero during the Obama regulatory tidal wave.

It should also be noted that Bircher Bart's macro-economics are particularly ridiculous in that things like the Great Depression (and the recent Great Recession) were INTERNATIONAL phenomena.

The Great Depression started in the US and lasted far longer here than in other nations.

After the post-WWII recovery, the Euro socialists were about a generation ahead of us in crippling their economies. Reagan/Clinton in the US and Thatcher in the UK provided those nations with a respite from the advance of totalitarian political economies in the western world. Asia partially followed the Reagan/Thatcher model, liberalized and grew.

 

Among many other things, Bircher Bart's lumping of 'progressivism' (and even 'socialism') in with communism and fascism as 'totalitarian' shows he's not a serious man in this area ('progressivism' and 'socialism,' by his understanding, abound in successful first world nations, and indeed as I've shown before, track industrialization perfectly, there literally is no industrialized nation that doesn't have elements of those things [as understood by Bircher Bart], you literally can't get a stronger correlation that that).
 

"Kennedy/Johnson substantially cut progressive income tax rates and the regulatory burden had not significantly increased since WWII. "

You see? cf. my 10:15 comments. He doesn't even know when he's doing it. He can't help it.

This is not a serious man.
 

Bart at 10:38 writes: "In contrast, the repeated failures of totalitarian political economies (communism, socialism, fascism, corporatism, progressivism, etc)...."

I'm confused. Is "progressivism" what used to be called "liberalism," which is generally embraced by the Democratic Party? In other words, is a government that provides food stamps for that reason totalitarian? And does "socialism" encompass the social democratic governments of Europe? Are they totalitarian too? Or is a "totalitarian political economy" different from a totalitarian government?
 

"The Great Depression started in the US and lasted far longer here than in other nations."

He also doesn't get that this undercuts his point and supports mine (because most of the developed world at that point had more and longer histories of government bureaucracy, welfare nets, etc).

This is a man deeply over his head who is insanely confident he should take a very deep breath. He's like a monkey who has been trained to use a hammer, a wrench and a screwdriver confidently taking on fixing a modern flat screen television...Not a serious man.

And this is basically the GOP base writ large now...
 

Mr. W:

The Clinton 93 tax increase was hardly the "GREATEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY." (Hint: SCREAMING in bold print does not make your lies any more believable.) The Hoover/ FDR tax increases were exponentially higher. Indeed, the Clinton tax increase only incrementally reversed the massive Reagan tax rate reductions. Still, an income tax increase is an income tax increase. Clinton's reduced economic growth by about a percentage point.

The economy did not take off again until the voters gave Congress to the GOP and Clinton became a born again small government advocate, working with Gingrich to balance the budget by shrinking government as a percentage of GDP. In the humble opinion of this Republican, post 94 Clinton was the second most conservative post-WWII POTUS after Reagan.

Yet more evidence that less government causes more economic growth.
 

Mr. W:

The comparatively liberal nations in Europe were not massively increasing taxes, regulation and labor costs like the New Deal, then thus recovered faster.

The fascist nations FDR was emulating were creating false economic growth through a military buildup we did not emulate until WWII.

I would tell you to read some history, but I know from years of experience you prefer willful ignorance and lying.
 

YOU NEED TO READ HISTORY!! Says the guy who still claims that WMD was found in Iraq.
 

BD: "In contrast, the repeated failures of totalitarian political economies (communism, socialism, fascism, corporatism, progressivism, etc)...."

Henry: I'm confused. Is "progressivism" what used to be called "liberalism," which is generally embraced by the Democratic Party?


We have a bipartisan political class which supports our progressive political economy.

In other words, is a government that provides food stamps for that reason totalitarian?

The progressive political economy (which is really an importation of European socialism and fascism) is not totalitarian because its leading advocates are Democrats.

Totalitarian political economies all have four foundations:

(1) Contrary to limited liberal governments, totalitarians recognize no natural individual rights which limit government power.

(2) Regardless of whether the nominal government is elected, totalitarians rule primarily through a bureaucracy exercising absolute power - legislative, executive and judicial.

(3) Totalitarians direct the economy - the means of producing goods and services (wealth).

(4) Totalitarians redistribute wealth from those who create it to those the government prefers, beginning with the government.

Yes, a redistributive welfare state is a policy common to every totalitarian political economy.

And does "socialism" encompass the social democratic governments of Europe? Are they totalitarian too?

Yes and yes. See Foundation 2 above.

Or is a "totalitarian political economy" different from a totalitarian government?

No. I prefer the term "political economy" when discussing totalitarianism, because this government seeks to direct the economy and redistribute the wealth it creates.
 

"The Clinton 93 tax increase was hardly the "GREATEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY." (Hint: SCREAMING in bold print does not make your lies any more believable.)"

This ninny doesn't get that it was the GOP screaming that back then (and my all caps mocks that). Yet he understands macro-economics? Please. This is not a serious man.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/1996/08/the-biggest-tax-increase-in-history.html

"The economy did not take off again until the voters gave Congress to the GOP"

Demonstrably false.

1994 (the first year after passage of THE GREATEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY! and a year before the GOP took control of Congress) saw a growth in GDP of 4.03%.

This is not a serious man.

https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/gdp-growth-rate
 

"The progressive political economy (which is really an importation of European socialism and fascism) is not totalitarian because its leading advocates are Democrats."

Previously, you said that "progressivism" is a type of totalitarian political economy. Now you say otherwise, and you do so "because its leading advocates are Democrats." Your capitalizing "Democrats" suggests that you mean the Democratic Party, but you also write, "We have a bipartisan political class which supports our progressive political economy."

Accepting your four foundations for the sake of argument, only #4 applies to the United States and Europe's social democracies, which is consistent with your new admission that "progressivism" is not totalitarian. Yet you still say that it is an importation of facism. I'm afraid that I remain confused.


 

"The comparatively liberal nations in Europe were not massively increasing taxes, regulation and labor costs like the New Deal, then thus recovered faster."

This guy can't get anything correct...

England, for example, was well ahead of the US in the welfare state during this time (starting with the Liberal reforms under Asquith). The same was generally true for the rest of developed Europe. The US lagged quite behind on these matters, it was only the shock of the depression that led them to try what had long been adopted elsewhere.

It's almost like history is more complex than self-directed reading at your local library supplemented with Glenn Beck University courses.
 

"Contrary to limited liberal governments, totalitarians recognize no natural individual rights which limit government power."

As I noted recently, even 'classical liberal' governments recognize, for example, the quarantine power, which overrides every single 'natural individual right which limit government power' that can come to mind. Under the quarantine power the right to property, associate, religion, etc., goes right out the window as people can be separated from their things and others (even religious and political speech based gatherings).

So classical liberal political economies would, under Bircher Bart's sloppy thinking, have to be classified as totalitarianism.

in other words, it's a meaningless concept as Bircher Bart uses it.

BTW-a reminder that *every industrialized nation* has the other three 'foundations' Bircher Bart cites. Further proof that what he is shaking his fist at is MODERNITY.
 

Hanry: Previously, you said that "progressivism" is a type of totalitarian political economy. Now you say otherwise, and you do so "because its leading advocates are Democrats." Your capitalizing "Democrats" suggests that you mean the Democratic Party, but you also write, "We have a bipartisan political class which supports our progressive political economy."

Reread my post for content. I have no idea where you got that from.
 

It's also always good to remind people that Bircher Bart's claim about bureaucracy exercising 'absolute' power is simply false. The plain definition of 'absolute' is 'not qualified or diminished in any way.' Not only can and do different administration make 'the federal bureaucracy' change course, but Congress and the Courts can and have as well.

A man who can't even use the English language properly is not a serious man, much less one to opine on macroeconomics, epidemiology, climatology, etc.. He needs to work more on his Dick and Jane first.
 

Mr. W:

(1) The New Deal's importation of Italian fascist corporatism (National Recovery Act), Nazi make work (the CCC and other programs) and socialist/fascist mass regulation of the economy, which raised the cost of labor and other business costs, are not elements of a Euro Socialist style welfare state.

(2) The New Deal did add some elements of the Bismarkian "state socialism" welfare state. See the Social Security Act. The added burden on top of the importations of fascism did indeed help cause the 1937 recession.

(3) Adding burdens to reach X level of the GDP harms the economy more than living with existing burdens at X level because there are transition costs on top of the burden.
 

Why does Bircher Bart use such careless hyperbole as 'totalitarianism,' 'absolute,' etc?

Because Bircher Bart is not, like a scholar, concerned with 'getting things right.'

Because Bircher Bart is not, like a person having an honest discussion, trying out his ideas and fairly considering the critiques and ideas of others.

But because Bircher Bart is a *propagandist.* Those terms are of course fraught with peril to anyone with a scholarly bent and of course inflammatory and to be avoided in any honest discussion. But the propagandist is looking to 'cash in' on emotional resonances of words. Their goal is to inflame.

And this is why Bircher Bart not only uses these words in the first place, but *continues* to use them, all the time, for years and years and years, no matter how careless, sloppy, or inflammatory his words are pointed out to him as being by others. He's a propagandist. It's all he is (at best), indeed all he does and seemingly tries to be.

And not a very good or serious one at that.
 

Mr. W:

What distinguishes an absolute monarchy from a government with separation of powers into an executive, legislature and judiciary?
 

Notice how the monkey swings his hammer and scredriver at the flat screen tv guts, as predicted.

There's no attempt to answer my point at all: if any European nation could have been said to be 'liberal' at this time it would have to be England, and as I pointed out England's government intervention and safety net long preceded the US at this time.

But he didn't mention England at all.

Because he's a propagandist, and his tool box is limited to what it is...
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Economic history is not my thing but appreciate (some) of the analysis here on that point.
 

Mr. W:

I use the term totalitarianism because this new industrial age political economy recognizes no natural limits on government power and its bureaucratic government has far more effective reach than past absolute monarchs and dictators.

Totalitarian does not mean the government runs everything. Governments most people call totalitarian, like the USSR and Nazi Germany, never ran everything. They were totalitarian because they ran what they wanted to the extent they wanted.

What the Europeans call Democratic Socialism and the Americans call Progressivism only differ from the USSR and Nazi Germans by degree. These totalitarian-lite states simply choose to run less of our lives. Indeed, every single progressive policy is shared by and derived from socialist and fascist governments.
 

"I use the term totalitarianism because this new industrial age political economy recognizes no natural limits on government power and its bureaucratic government has far more effective reach than past absolute monarchs and dictators."

This makes my point. No serious scholar or honest discussant would use that term because it is indefensible as a matter of English (total means, well total). Instead they would say 'far more effective reach' (they'd never say 'recognizes no natural limits on government power' because serious people avoid absolute statements and, as I showed, any government could be said to 'recognize no natural limits on government power,' they just disagree when and in what areas those natural limits can be justly schluffed off).

A propagandist would use that term because the term was given a connotation in the wake of WWII to refer to awful regimes like the Soviets and Nazis, and the propagandist wants to inflame and trades in resonances and connotations rather than in preciseness and carefulness.

Note that Bircher Bart has plied his trade in the propagandist manner for years and years. It's all he seems to be able or willing to do.

This is not a serious man.
 

"What distinguishes an absolute monarchy from a government with separation of powers into an executive, legislature and judiciary?"

This borders literal incoherence. It's both unresponsive and irrelevant to what I've said at the same time (while also uncommonly silly).


 

Let's talk about WMDs for a second as an illustration of how non-serious our Bircher Bart's arguments/discussions are.

If Bircher Bart were a serious man he would, without having to be a self-styled expert on the subject of armament re WMDs, have to ask himself: if WMDs were really found in Iraq, then why would people like Bush, Powell, Rice, and many more, who *staked so much of their political integrity on the issue,* conceded they were not found? I mean, if the report he cited or the NYT article he mentions were so exonerating on this issue, why wouldn't they have glomed onto it and waved it vigorously to protect their political integrity?

A serious man would suddenly start to doubt himself or at least the line he had parroted for years and years in the fact of that. He'd have to think 'huh, it's obvious that whatever may or may not have been found in Iraq, it was not what my side was selling to the public, or else these gentlmen and women wouldn't be so sadly conceding they got it wrong the entire time.'

But Bircher Bart doesn't do it. I think he's not capable or, worse, willing to do it. He's either a incorrigible propagandist who believes his own propaganda or someone who thinks he's serving as some type of konservative keyboard kommando engaged in political warfare propaganda (I mean, military officials tasked with spreading propaganda don't stop when undercut either, it's their *duty*).

I honestly don't know which is more sad and pathetic to be honest. But I do know what this gets us on this discussion board is a very non-serious man involved in our discussions.
 

I knew someone would offer the reprehensible argument that war creates economic growth.

Which is why I specifically referred to "GDP growth." And of course GDP did grow. Factories hummed, workers were employed, etc.

In WWII, we borrowed a year's GDP to pay over 20 million working age people to do nothing but kill people and destroy their wealth. We employed much of the rest of the working age population to create weapons and supplies which served no other purpose than to kill people and destroy their wealth.

Which is what we wanted.

What would you have preferred the economy do during the war? It didn't produce a lot of consumer goods, sure, but it produced massive, incredible quantities of military equipment.

Now, if you don't think winning WWII was all that important, then of course you are entitled to your opinion. But it's beyond insane to argue that somehow the country was in recession during the early 1940's as a result of foolish economic policies.
 

BD: "What distinguishes an absolute monarchy from a government with separation of powers into an executive, legislature and judiciary?"

Mr. W: But he didn't mention England at all....This borders literal incoherence. It's both unresponsive and irrelevant to what I've said at the same time (while also uncommonly silly).


Anyone with a passing knowledge of English history knows much of that history (the parts which heavily influenced our Founders) consisted of an ongoing conflict between absolute monarchs exercising legislative, executive and judicial power (which were based on the Roman history of dictators and Caesars) and the Parliament and judiciary.

Better to keep your fingers still and leave people wondering about the extent of your willful ignorance, than to type post after post removing all doubt.
 

"This is not a serious man."

So, funny?

"I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?"
 

Joe:

:::heh:::
 

"Anyone with a passing knowledge of English history knows much of that history (the parts which heavily influenced our Founders) consisted of an ongoing conflict between absolute monarchs exercising legislative, executive and judicial power (which were based on the Roman history of dictators and Caesars) and the Parliament and judiciary."

Again this is both unresponsive and irrelevant to what I've said here. Even arguendo that "much of English history" or even the more qualified "the parts which heavily influenced our Founders" "consisted of an ongoing conflict between absolute monarchs exercising legislative, executive and judicial power...and the Parliament and judiciary" this has no bearing on my point that saying our current federal bureaucracy exercises 'absolute power' is contrary to basic English and/or current reality because "[n]ot only can and do different administration make 'the federal bureaucracy' change course, but Congress and the Courts can and have as well."

So, as I noted, no serious scholar or honest discussant would use the term 'absolute power' when referring to our federal bureaucracy. A serious scholar or honest discussant would, perhaps instead, say that our federal bureaucracy has more power than it should, or that it's power has grown a lot.

But a *propagandist* would use the term 'absolute' because it invokes a political resonance, striking an accord with political rhetoric of our past (the very one Bircher Bart notes not-ironically to anyone following his comments over the years). And they'd continue to use it even after other more serious and honest discussants have long and repeatedly made it known to the propagandist that the term is imprecise, unhelpful, sloppy and misleading. Because propagandists don't care a white about being imprecise, helpful, careful and on the up-and-up. They're trying to fan a certain motivation. That's what propagandists do. And that's all Bircher Bart can or will do. This is not a serious man.
 

joe, Pesci's character in Goodellas was orders more coherent than our Bircher.

But given our Bircher's professed willingness to support those who murder in plain sight the two could perhaps fairly be equated in moral stature...
 

To make the distinction in another way.

We have people on this site who are professed modern liberals ('progressives'). Mark and joe, for example. I don't agree with Mark and joe all the time on substantive policy and even other issues, but note how they carry on here: even when they are defending a liberal position they do not generally use simplistic, propagandist style rhetoric. If they did it would look something like long, windy mini-treatises on why theocratic movements (like the Caliphates, ISIS or the modern conservative movement) all are the same because they all want to read their theocratic directives into the law, and that since the Caliphates, ISIS and other theocracies have a dismal record of oppression and totalitarianism this proves that modern conservatism will have the same effect, and blah, blah, blah. Then add some conspiracy theories based on flimsy, quickly formed assumptions, heaps of Manicheanism where the other side is clearly criminal/evil, etc., etc.,

But this isn't how our liberals tend to talk. They talk with lots of qualification as to their assertions, with a relative dearth of inflammatory titles for the other side or lumping of the other side into some of the worst historical movements which could be said to be aligned in some capacity with them.

And then look how our conservative regulars argue. It's like night and day.

President Trump is just the head of the rotting fish that is the modern GOP base. He wouldn't be anywhere or anything without the torso, fins and tail supporting him.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Mr. W:

We have now reached the tap dancing stage of our conversation.

(1) You are arguing that we should not consider the bureaucracy's exercise of absolute power (legislative, executive and judicial) to be absolute because Reagan, Trump and Congress reversed a miniscule percentage of the Federal Register and the POTUSes declined to continue previous tidal waves of regulation.

This is like saying a Roman dictator did not exercise absolute power because he stepped down under law after an emergency ended.

Or like saying the English absolute monarch King Charles I did not exercise absolute power because Parliament eventually deposed him and lopped off his head after a civil war.

(2) You also argue that a government exercise of power is not "absolute" or "totalitarian" if the government is not directing every part of our lives. Yet, we commonly use these terms even though no government in human history has come close to directing everything. Thus, the terms must mean something else than what you claim they do.

I have provided the basic history behind the term absolute power.

Totalitarianism really has no established definition, yet we know it exists and can point at examples - Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

A few years back, one of the readers of my book Never Allow A Crisis to Go to Waste replied to my indictment of the Obama administration by demanding what I offer solution. Thus, began a book project suggesting comprehensive amendments to the Constitution to reverse the progressive state. Of course, I must define the progressive political economy before I can offer effective ways to reverse it.

I started working on a definition of progressivism with the same point of view advanced here that progressivism is different from totalitarian governments which practice socialism or fascism. However, I could not find any principled difference between the three. Every single progressive policy is imported from socialist and fascist governments.

Then, I started working on a definition of totalitarianism. There really are none beyond the historically incorrect generality you advance that totalitarian governments run everything. Governments to which people commonly refer as totalitarian plainly do not.

Finally, I drafted my own definition based on what elements recognized totalitarian political economies share and how this combination of elements is different from past political economies.
 

"You are arguing that we should not consider the bureaucracy's exercise of absolute power (legislative, executive and judicial) to be absolute because Reagan, Trump and Congress reversed a miniscule percentage of the Federal Register and the POTUSes declined to continue previous tidal waves of regulation."

Sorry Bircher, but the definition of absolute is pretty clear: "not qualified or diminished in any way." You concede this doesn't apply to our federal bureaucracy since Congress and executives (and you forgot courts) because it's demonstrable fact that all three have stopped bureaucratic initiatives (qualified and diminished whatever power they are professed to have). That's just English.

So, if the term clearly doesn't fit in the usual sense, why would Bircher Bart use it?

I've explained this: because he's a propagandist. Propagandist don't choose words to be precise, careful etc., they choose words to invoke an emotional resonance, connotation, etc.. And this is why Bircher Bart continues to use this term (and others) even though it's demonstrably not the best word for what he's describing even accepting arguendo how he presents things (for example, the fact that relatively few regulations are reversed in a democracy when the power is on the books to do so can be readily explained by the fact that most people would be upset, and vote out, representatives or executives who used that power available to them).

This man is a propagandist. He knows or will exhibit no other way. This is not a serious man.
 

"However, I could not find any principled difference between the three."

It's probably hard for a person with no discernible principles other than propagandizing for his partisan side to think of or recognize principles.

This is, after all, a man who has shown a willingness to shed basic moral (he said he'd support Trump even if he knew Trump murdered a person) and intellectual (he said that there was 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for the Bidens to be investigated even after the release of the WH transcript copping to that) principles in his partisan propaganda effort.
 

"This is like saying a Roman dictator did not exercise absolute power because he stepped down under law after an emergency ended.

Or like saying the English absolute monarch King Charles I did not exercise absolute power because Parliament eventually deposed him and lopped off his head after a civil war."

These are the kinds of laughable analogies Bircher Bart regularly comes up with.

A Roman 'dictator' or Charles the monarch has precisely the connotation it does in our political rhetoric precisely because there was no check on their power 1. while their power was authorized or 2. other than revolt (challenging that very authority). In stark, and to non-propagandists' eyes obvious, distinction is our federal bureaucracy which *can* and *has been* overruled *in the very exercise of their given authority* by our democratic branches and our judiciary. If a truly democratic Roman Senate could curtail the dictator's power *during their commission* and the Parliament could curtail Charle's power *during his reign* then neither would have the connotation and resonance of having *absolute* power. By definition power readily curtailed is not absolute.

This is not a serious man.
 

"There really are none beyond the historically incorrect generality you advance that totalitarian governments run everything."

Of course, I never gave that definition. Neither need I give one to note that yours is absurd. Take a simple and obvious example: an essential feature of anything that most sane, honest, careful non-propagandists called 'totalitarian' would be that such a system does not tolerate political dissent or opposition. But of course 'progressive' and even most 'socialist' governments in the world do allow such. Bircher Bart's theory is build on burning matchsticks.

So, from an intellectual standpoint, his use of the word 'totalitarianism' equated with 'progressivism' is applesauce. So why would he use it? And especially, why would he use it when on a cite which he knows is run by and frequented by 'progressives?' Any honest discussant would have to know that such a conflation is incredibly inflammatory. Does any honest discussion or careful scholarship proceed in such a fashion? Of course not. It would be akin to visiting a conservative site to expand at length about how you've determined that 'conservatism' and 'theocracy' are the same thing, and that there is no principle to be found to distinguish ISIS and the Republican Party or CPAC. Even if someone were as crazy to think such a thing, they'd at least have enough self-awareness to know that leading, and *continuing for years* to lead, with that terminology is at *best* trolling (which, of course, is dishonest discussion, again at *best*).

But you know what? If a person were not interested in honest discussion or scholarly analysis, but instead were interested in propaganda, to act as a self-perceived konservative keyboard krusader in a propaganda operations unit, then they'd do *exactly what Bircher Bart does.*

And, well, he does. This is a partisn incoherent propagandist. He offers or is incapable of producing anything else.

This is not a serious man.
 

BD: "I started working on a definition of progressivism with the same point of view advanced here that progressivism is different from totalitarian governments which practice socialism or fascism. However, I could not find any principled difference between the three. Every single progressive policy is imported from socialist and fascist governments."

Mr. W: It's probably hard for a person with no discernible principles other than propagandizing for his partisan side to think of or recognize principles.


OK, feel free offer unique definitions for progressivism, socialism and fascism.

Given that progressivism is the American importation of socialism and fascism, and socialism and fascism share more than distinguishes them, this could be interesting.

It won't be interesting, though. You will offer some nonsense pulled out of your hind quarters without any thought, like the following...

A Roman 'dictator' or Charles the monarch has precisely the connotation it does in our political rhetoric precisely because there was no check on their power

No checks? Now you are back to making up fiction.

Roman dictators were checked by a variety of rights under Roman law.

King Charles dissolved Parliament, then discovered he could not raise money without the legislature, then tried to work around this check by selling offices and fining the citizenry.

Take a simple and obvious example: an essential feature of anything that most sane, honest, careful non-propagandists called 'totalitarian' would be that such a system does not tolerate political dissent or opposition.

Both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had political factions in sharp and often deadly disagreement with one another. The idea of a dictator (or an elected government) running a sprawling government with competing bureaucratic fiefdoms in perfect synchronization is pure fantasy. Once again, in totalitarian political economies, the real power is dispersed in absolute bureaucracies.
 

"Given that progressivism is the American importation of socialism and fascism"

I mean, this really isn't a serious man. Progressivism of course shares features with *every other modern industrialized political economy* because it is modern political economic movement. Bircher Bart's theory is on the level with saying 'progressives, fascists and socialists all used modern modes of transportation, communication and such, therefore they are all the same thing.' This is terrible stuff.

And his equation of factions within a one party state to nations that allow dissent, opposing parties and press and truly contested elections is equally intellectually pathetic and morally despicable. It's a huge insult to those (I know several personally) who lived under actual totalitarian dictatorships and it shows a stunning lack of distinction. But again, this is a fellow who has shown his degradation of moral and intellectual sense often (most recently saying he would support a known murderer for President and that he could see 'zero evidence' that Trump asked for the Bidens to be investigated after the transcript demonstrating just that was public). I mean, this is just a fellow who lazily came up with a 'grand theory,' one that warmed the partisan cockles of his heart (this man has likely never changed his opinion or conclusion in any way contrary to his already formed partisan leanings), embraced it with undue overconfidence, and now is so desperate to preserve it without modification (again, a sign of an un-serious person vs. a careful scholar or honest discussant) that engages in the most morally and intellectually ridiculous pitiful analogies (I mean, comparing nations with true rival press, parties and dissent with nations which have none but have scheming factions internal to the one party state). This. is. not. a. serious. man. This is a partisan incoherent.

And laughably so.
 

Mr. W:

In short, you cannot offer unique definitions for progressivism, socialism and fascism. Instead, as I predicted, "It won't be interesting, though. You will offer some nonsense pulled out of your hind quarters without any thought."

Case closed.
 

Again, no one has to offer any definition of any of those to know that Bircher Bart's is moral and intellectual lunacy.

This unserious propagandist has of course given little thought into the implications of his silly hyperbole (of course, propagandists seldom do, they choose and base their ideas on the emotional resonance or inflammation they hope to achieve). But take this one. Bircher Bart argues that progressivism=totalitarianism=fascism=communism. He claims that our nation is a progressive state ruled by bi-partisan adherents to same. This man volunteered and fought for the Army.

Which of course means Bircher Bart was a willing foot soldier of a totalitarian, fascist, communist regime.

I mean, this guy has given this very little serious thought.

But propagandists often don't.

This is not a serious man.
 

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