Which clueless totalitarian are you?

We need a Facebook quiz to find out which Atlas Shrugged character Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like.

There might not be a match. Ayn Rand’s fiction has been criticized for unidimensional characterization, but even she would find AOC unbelievable.

Here Are The Most Shocking Proposals From Ocasio-Cortez’ “Green New Deal”

Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t provide any insight into how the trillions of dollars in spending will be paid for other than claiming, “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit”. But as Ocasio-Cortez says, “the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity”.

Provide free, mandatory classes for every citizen in speaking ‘Venezuelan?’

(Update, 12:48PM here‘s one estimate of the cost.)

Here’s a snippet from an FAQ document, published by proponents, describing the wonders of the ‘Green New Deal:’

Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.

Maybe “our new shared prosperity” will pay for little solar-powered methane suction devices attached to the rear of every cow.  “Methane Disposal,” you ask?  Well, we just inject it into the natural gas supply lines…  Oh wait, natural gas will be banned.

OK.  More likely, the cow problem solves itself when meat and milk are banned.

This manifesto attracted so much ridicule that they tried to disappear it from the internet. They forgot the internet is forever. It is humorous reading.

This great leap forward is on top of universal free college education and medicare for all. So, they desperately need the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, King Midas, and the Pope (for divine intervention).

What they’ve got is Modern Monetary Theory:

MMT Sounds Great In Theory, But…

If you haven’t heard about Modern Monetary Theory your IQ is higher than it would have been if you had. It is really neither modern, nor a theory (it’s not actually testable*); and it misapprehends the meaning of the word ‘monetary.’ However, it could be in your future as a general government policy.

This theory of infinite currency printing does not admit to being limited by inflation. Any excess currency is simply taxed back. Inflation is something that cannot happen with a proper implementation of MMT.

Proper. Implementation. By the ‘best and brightest.’ Like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

MMT has an obvious attraction for politicians. We’ve been playing at the edges of it for quite some time.

Let’s close with a last word from Ocasio-Cortez on the “Green New Deal”:

“I think one way that the right does try to mischaracterize what we’re doing as though it’s like some kind of massive government takeover. Obviously it’s not that because what we’re trying to do is release the investments from the federal government to mobilize those resources across the country.”

Obviously! Release! Investments! Mobilize! That explains the whole thing: She’s hired a fluent Newspeak expert. ‘Obviously’ means, “If you don’t understand, it’s because you’re stupid.” ‘Release’ means, oh, I don’t know, “the vast Federal budget surplus being held hostage by Trump’s wall proposal?” ‘Investments’ means, “Impossible government spending.” ‘Mobilize’ means, “At gunpoint.”

*Proponents will say, “It is testable, but it’s never been tried.” Well, that’s what they say about Communism, too. But, let’s even ignore the actual workings of an economy and admit that MMT depends on the refined judgment of virtuous politicians zealously balancing currency flow. And if you imagine that can be accomplished, you run into an even bigger problem: To do their job, these paragons also have to possess instant, encyclopedic, perfectly accurate information about every aspect of that economy.

In China the government tracks your every move

Information Warfare: 1984 Becomes Real In 2024

In the United States, we just let Google and Facebook track us. With Twitter brownshirts and the Maim Scream Media™ as the enforcers.

On the whole, the Chicoms are likely fairer, and they’re certainly more circumspect.

See Mark Steyn: The Drumbeat of the Mob

and

Neo: The Covington chronicles: on hating the face of a teenage boy

I don’t much like Donald Trump, but, sorry, he’s not the problem.

Talk about toxic personalities and hate speech… you collectivists seriously need a privilege check.

The selected zero-sum victims cult

Conflate the ideas in the following 3 articles, and ponder.
1) Selection effects

To take a more provocative example [of selection effects], consider the “____ studies” fields in academia. Even if they don’t explicitly require professors to have left-wing ideas, they select for such professors by making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view. In other fields, this is less the case. But I fear that in those other fields, any lack of diversity along gender or racial lines will be used as a wedge to make them to come up with selection criteria that have the effect of pulling in people with a left-wing viewpoint. In economics, I call this the “road to sociology watch.”

2) Does the Zero-Sum Nature of Academic Success Contribute to the Left-wards Bias of Academia?

For a while now, I have had a theory that the zero-sum nature of academic success (competition for a fixed and perhaps shrinking number of tenured positions) affects the larger world-view of academia. (This article that compares academia to a harmful cult demonstrates this zero-sum thinking pretty well.)

3) The Free Speech Crisis on Campus Is Worse than People Think

We’ve heard about microaggressions, said to be small slights that over time do great harm to disadvantaged groups; trigger warnings, which some students demand before they are exposed to course material that might be disturbing; and safe spaces, where people can go to be free of ideas that challenge leftist identity politics. We’ve heard claims that speech that offends campus activists is actually violence, and we’ve seen activists use actual violence to stop it —and to defend this as self-defense—when administrators fail to do so…

[T]he new culture of victimhood combines sensitivity to slight with appeal to authority. Those who embrace it see themselves as fighting oppression, and even minor offenses can be worthy of attention and action. Slights, insults, and sometimes even arguments or evidence might further victimize an oppressed group, and authorities must deal with them. You could call this social justice culture since those who embrace it are pursuing a vision of social justice. But we call it victimhood culture because being recognized as a victim of oppression now confers a kind of moral status, in much the same way that being recognized for bravery did in honor cultures…

Victimhood culture is a new moral culture, not simply a variant of dignity culture. Its adherents and defenders still use much of the language of dignity, as when writer Regina Rini describes the goal of microaggression reporting as “a culture in which no one is denied full moral recognition.” This sounds like dignity culture, except that the implication is that even minor and unintentional slights deny people full moral recognition. The break with dignity culture is more fundamental, though. Dignity culture fights oppression by appealing to what we all have in common. Our status as human beings is what’s most important about us. But victimhood culture conceives of people as victims or oppressors, and maintains that where we fall on this dimension is what’s most important about us, even in our everyday relationships and interactions. And this means that victimhood culture is ultimately incompatible with the goals of the university. Pursuing truth in an environment of vigorous debate will always involve causing offense—and one of the shibboleths of victimhood culture is that it’s okay to offend the oppressors but not the oppressed. Many campus activists, realizing this, have attacked the ideals of free speech and academic freedom. One of these visions will have to prevail—either dignity culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue truth, or victimhood culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue social justice.

The first article ends with the passage I quoted, and there’s more there to think about. “Making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view” is a very nice description of why our campuses have become so anti-free speech. RTWT. I also highly recommend perusing the comments.

The second article makes a wonderful point about capitalism. The comments there are also worth a look.

The third article is fairly long, but it does an excellent job making the case that “Victimhood culture is a moral culture, and the activists who embrace it are moral actors, not part of a “snowflake generation” that can’t cope with disagreement.” In other words, victimhood culture is much more of a threat to classical liberal values than you might think if you dismiss it as a silly, passing phase of young naifs surrounded by mentors who view 1984 as a “How to” guide.

This new culture is abetted by social media; where qualifications for oppressed tribal membership are continually redefined, identitarian scoring systems are maintained, and virtue signaling shaming rituals are fueled.

Further reading:

Rule by internet mobs.
Narrow Roads of Bozo Land: How We Came to Be Governed by Online Mobs

Crowdsourced anonymous Kafkaesque accusations.
How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life

The value of victimhood.
Collision with Reality: What Depth Psychology Can Tell us About Victimhood Culture

And what should we fear?
Western Civilisation “Not Welcome Here”

Finally, see if you can connect these dots to Jordan Peterson’s popularity.
Harvard Study: 20% Of College Students Consider Suicide; 9% Attempt It

Victim culture activists truly are as afraid of words as they say they are. It’s not posturing, it’s mental illness posing as a moral code; producing fragile people whose stifling nihilism becomes their only real psychological defense.

Jordan Peterson on why university safe spaces are absurd and crippling:

The Mental Health Crisis | Jonathan Haidt:

In sum:
Strictly select your collective for matching ideology.
View every game as zero-sum.
Create hundreds of victim groups.
Convince students that rights trump responsibilities.

Then teach them they are oppressed by culture outside the ivory towers, and they will demand dignity free safe spaces from within which to plot its destruction.

Collectivism isn’t Right or Left

Jordan B. Peterson Is the Furthest Thing from the Alt-Right

Peterson’s claim that identity politics is “genocidal in its ultimate expression” is no exaggeration. Hitler’s military invasions and death camps were the ultimate expression of the racialist and nationalist identity politics that spiritually drove Nazism. And Stalin’s weaponized famines and “gulag archipelago” were the ultimate expression of the class warfare identity politics that spiritually drove Soviet communism.

Identity politics is necessarily collectivist. Alt-right or Ctl-left, Nazi or Communist: “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.”

The problem with NAtionale soZIalists

Thanks to Instapundit, I was made aware of this post by Ezra Klein, whose credentials include work at The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, MSNBC and The American Prospect.

It’s from 2006, so it isn’t news. Then again, he’s writing the same sort of stuff today.

Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn’t do that.

Update Sigh. Let’s try to be clearer, then. The problem with the Nazis was that they were genocidal white supremacists with an appetite for continental hegemony. To invoke them in order to tar, by association, privatization, or “appeasement,” or socialist policies, or other policies that were not related to their murderous crimes is a noxious debate tactic that should be widely and rapidly condemned.

OK, let’s be clearer. Hitler was a vegetarian who, instead of cows, slaughtered people. This doesn’t reflect badly on vegetarians or cows, it just shows Mr. Klein’s thoughts on the topic he takes to hand are incoherent. Should we be more kindly disposed toward Stalin because he made a non-aggression pact with a vegetarian?

Volkswagen is a good car company. Note the Clintonian ‘is.” During World War Two, OTOH, it’s believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen’s plants were slave laborers. Klein neglected to mention that Krupp makes decent coffee makers. Still, Volkswagen and Krupp subscribed to the “Arbeit macht frei” meme.

Universal health care was Bismarckian, not Hitlerian. And it’s not inarguably a good idea. The face of Hitlerian health care is Dr. Josef Mengele. His practice was quite restricted, of course, but it was based on the idea that the State owned his patients. For a more general view of Statist health care, where the State only leases patients, check out Britain’s NHS or the Veteran’s Administration.

The hard-core Keynesians were the Volk running the Weimar regime. When they printed, they Printed. Hitler had to start a world war for his spending spree.

Alongside starting a world war, I think the economic boosting technique Weimar failed to grasp was starvation of slave laborers. When labor costs are zero, productivity goes up. When health care is delivered by Dr. Mengele, insurance costs become irrelevant. Neither does it immediately hurt your economy if you seize the Sudetenland and Poland. Think of all the broken windows that needed repair.

So, is invoking the NAZIs when discussing political policies other than genocide a noxious debate technique? In some cases, I’m sure. But Mr. Klein can’t name any of them.

Fascism is accurately defined as the political belief that the state is more important than the individual. “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.” You may object that that is a Mussolini quote. I’d claim Hitler wished he had said it.

This collectivist mind-set is fundamental to praising corporatist automobile companies who would avail themselves of slave labor. It’s a conviction you must hold before you force free people to accept government rationed health care. It’s necessary thinking for idealizing Keynesian economics. Collectivism is the perfect philosophical precursor to genocidal hegemony. The NAZIs were collectivists.

No matter what the leaders say, collectivist states always end this way. For evidence that the cause is not Hitler, but Nationalism and Socialism, I recommend reading The Black Book of Communism.

Of the two collectivist pillars of NAZI political thought, which do we blame more, NAtionalism or soZIalism? I’m not sure it matters. When you combine nationalism and socialism, you’re on the road to justification for “racial purification.” In fact, you’re likely to need the justification because someone like Hitler, Stalin or Mao is always lurking.

Update 4:10PM:
Here is an example where collectivist supporters of federal funding for Planned Parenthood will not engage in “noxious debate,” and they condemn any such discussion “widely and rapidly.” But when you cut a living baby’s face open in order to extract the brain intact, I’d say a Mengele comparison is not only apt, but required. So are criminal charges.

Reconciling the Union Leadership minimum wage rhetoric

AFL-CIO leader warns labor could sit out 2016 fight over trade

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threatens “no endorsement” for President, if Hillary supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal:

…that’s conceivable if both candidates weren’t interested in raising wages

They decided to pass something that was going to cost jobs and lower wages, and they’re going to have to answer to their constituencies for that whenever they face them.

So, unions oppose trade deals unless those deals would both create American jobs and raise American wages. Who would disagree?

Our trading partners, perhaps?

Speaking of wages vs. jobs, after leading the fight to get a minimum wage increase passed in Los Angeles, a California labor leader appears to contradict Trumka’s wage rhetoric: L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

On May 19th, Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement.”

In sum: To be free, you must join the collective.

Acknowledging that union members might lose jobs to lower-cost competition under a consistent set of rules, Mr. Hicks demands the privilege of being the lowest cost supplier. Reality-wise, Mr. Hicks would have the better of this argument with Mr. Trumka, except that it isn’t a disagreement at all. They both want to use government regulation to drive out competing labor.

So, if it would cost their members jobs to have a particular minimum wage, unions oppose minimum wage for their members. If it would cost their members jobs for other countries to have a lower minimum wage, they want to force higher labor costs on those other countries.

Maybe Trumka and Hicks should start thinking about what this – Robots Start to Grasp Food Processing – means to their membership.

I seem to remember another time where this type of disruption affected wages and jobs. Something about power looms? Some kid named Ned Ludd was said to be involved.

It seems to me, with the robotics threat generally looming on the horizon, that Trumka and Hicks are a bit shortsighted. Lower wages from foreign competition (for Trumka Chinese factory workers, for Hicks, the illegal immigrants in Southern California) are just practice for what’s coming to their members. It’s already started at McDonalds et. al., because they’re the early targets of the social justice cohort.

American school children and Russian cows

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

When Allison Benedikt says “worth it,” she is insisting that you consider all other children more important than your own child. Those of a totalitarian disposition might consider this idea worthy of debate, but, short of government forcing it, no one could consider it practical. Even president Obama has rejected Benedikt’s dictum.

One wonders how Progressives like Ms Benedikt reconcile their relentless public school focus on self-esteem training with their opinion that the collective is more important than you are. You’re special because your parents decided to sacrifice your education to the common good? You’re just as important as everyone else who can’t read or write?

It reminds me of an old Russian joke about a peasant with one cow who hates his neighbor because the neighbor has two cows. A genie offers to grant the envious farmer a single wish. “Kill one of my neighbor’s cows!” he demands.

Ms Benedikt is not arguing on behalf of children, or the “common good.” She’s arguing on behalf of public employee unions and big government, so ignore this report from Harvard: Students Learn Less in States with Stronger Teachers’ Unions

For Ms Benedikt that’s not a bug. It’s a feature. Of course, she would probably object that that’s an example what she wants to change. However, she also probably would object to education system reforms like those in Wisconsin and Michigan.

And, by the way, somebody should tell Ms Benedikt that calling president Obama a “bad person” is racist.

Animal Farm Shrugged

Google Says Some Apple Inventions Are So Great They Ought to Be Shared

In plain English, Google wants Apple’s intellectual property to be declared public property. Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote:

While collaborative [Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs)] play an important part in the overall standard setting system, and are particularly prominent in industries such as telecommunications, they are not the only source of standards. Indeed, many of the same interoperability benefits that the FTC and others have touted in the SSO context also occur when one firm publishes information about an otherwise proprietary standard and other firms then independently decide (whether by choice or of necessity) to make complementary investments to support that standard in their products. … Because proprietary or de facto standards can have just as important effects on consumer welfare, the Committee’s concern regarding the abuse of SEPs [standards-essential patents] should encompass them as well.

He means some Apple patents should be seized and given freely to Google, because they are popular. And Google is at a competitive disadvantage without them. License them? No, that’s unfair, or too expensive, or insufficiently damaging to a competitor. It is the job of government to DO SOMETHING about this.

A reading of Atlas Shrugged reveals this is exactly the same pressure Hank Rearden faced from an eerily familar Kleptocracy. I used to nod and have a smallish chuckle when I saw an Ayn Rand plot device writ in MSM headlines. Now? I’m scared.

I understood Animal Farm as a warning, not a manual for governing. Now, I hear the president of the United States paraphrasing Old Major and Napoleon in every campaign speech.

Reality’s convergence with the “fiction” of Rand and Orwell is accelerating. Google is Orren Boyle, Jim Taggart, Wesley Mouch and Dr. Potter combined. Old Major and Napoleon are the current administration.

Universal health care

Be careful what you wish for.

…Take the much-vaunted Canadian system. More than 825,000 Canadian citizens are currently on waiting lists for surgery and other necessary treatments. Fifteen years ago, the average wait between a referral from a primary-care doctor to treatment by a specialist was around nine weeks. Today, that wait is over 16 weeks.

…In part, these waits are due to a doctor shortage. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada ranks 24th out of 28 countries in doctors per thousand people.

Why so few doctors? Over the past decade, about 11 percent of physicians trained in Canadian medical schools have moved to the United States. That’s because doctors’ salaries in Canada are negotiated, set and paid for by provincial governments and held down by cost-conscious budget analysts. Today, in fact, the average Canadian doctor earns only 42 percent of what a doctor earns in the United States.

Of course, like guns in Toronto, this is the fault of the United States. If we didn’t have a free market in medicine the docs would be stuck.

RTWT

It takes a pillage

Hillary Clinton has been telling her plans for us in no uncertain terms. Either that, or she’s been channeling Karl Marx.

One – 2004
Many of you are well enough off that … the tax cuts may have helped you,” Sen. Clinton said. “We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

Two – 2006
The day after Exxon Mobil’s announcement that it earned $39.5 billion in 2006, Hillary Clinton said: “I want to take those profits, and I want to put them into a strategic energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy, alternatives and technologies that will begin to actually move us toward the direction of independence.”

Three – 2007
Today I want to focus on how we ensure both strong economic growth and economic fairness.

Now, we have seen for more than a century that fairness doesn’t just happen. It requires the right government policies. [Hers.] And no one should be surprised, human nature being what it is, people will go as far as they possibly can get away with. [I can think of at least one.]

…It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few, time to reject the idea of an “on your own” society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. I prefer a “we’re all in it together” society.

Now, there is no greater force for economic growth than free markets, but markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed.

Emphasis mine.

You’d think she was running in Venezuela. She’d like to be. In Venezuela, if you perceive a “vast right wing conspiracy,” you just shut down free speech. After you’ve nationalized the oil companies, of course.

BTW, she’s been having a contest for her campaign song. I have many unsubmitted good ideas. Here are a few:

-Medley, Stand by Your Man, I Caught You With Your Pants Down and Devil in a Blue Dress.

-Me ‘n Bobbie McGee
Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose.

-Гимн Советского Союза, Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza (Russian National Anthem).
Since you may be unfamiliar with those lyrics, I include them below.

Material Girl

Go with Goldwater
I don’t remember the lyrics, and I’m disappointed they seem to be unavailable on the Web. Maybe Hillary has a memorabilia copy.


Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza lyrics

1. Unbreakable Union of freeborn Republics,
Great Russia has welded forever to stand.
Created in struggle by will of the people,
United and mighty, our Soviet land!

CHORUS:

Sing to the Motherland, home of the free,
Bulwark of peoples in brotherhood strong.
O Party of Lenin, the strength of the people,
To Communism’s triumph lead us on!

2. Through tempests the sunrays of freedom have cheered us,
Along the new path where great Lenin did lead.
To a righteous cause he raised up the peoples,
Inspired them to labour and valourous deed.

CHORUS

3. In the victory of Communism’s deathless ideal,
We see the future of our dear land.
And to her fluttering scarlet banner,
Selflessly true we always shall stand!

CHORUS