Page 157 of 161

The 99% Demonstrate the Zero Sum Fallacy.

P.J. O’Rourke, right as usual. (h/t Instapundit)

But the Occupiers are wrong about something much more important. They believe in the Zero Sum Fallacy — the idea that there is a fixed amount of the good things in life. Anything I get, I’m taking from you. If I have too many slices of pizza, you have to eat the Dominos box. The Zero Sum Fallacy is a bad idea — dangerous to economics, politics, and world peace. It means any time we want good things we have to fight with each other to get them. We don’t. We can make more good things. We can make more pizza — or more tofu, windmills and solar panels, if you like.

Even if the Zero Sum Fallacy were true, redistribution would not solve it. Imagine this scenario:

  • One person has 100 dollars. Ninety-Nine people have a dollar each.
  • If you take 70 dollars from the rich person, as Paul Krugman dreams, he has 30 dollars.
  • If you distribute the 70 dollars among the 99, they end up with $1.71 each.

This is before we add in the costs of the redistributors taking their cut. So all you’ve managed to do is make one person very much poorer, 99 people infinitesimally richer, and changed no one’s disposition toward the other. The rich guy will resent the loss of his wealth and make efforts to hide future wealth for redistribution. The 99 poor, having seized the wealth once, will be unsatisfied with their take and want more.

"Just wait until we get to the guy at the top."

Tebow Keeps Missing the Memo About Losing

Let’s be real here for a second.

The Broncos haven’t played anyone good except the Lions, who are not that good. The 2-10 Vikings almost beat them. The 2nd-stringer-led Bears almost beat them. Even if they make the playoffs, either the Steelers, Pats, Texans, or Ravens will make short work of them. More importantly, let’s not forget that this is basically the Packers’ year.

But watching the NFL chattering class try to figure out how this Tebow kid keeps putting together wins at the last minute is fun. Watching people who confuse their antipathy to his religion with a just assessment of his abilities squirm is fun. In general, watching the comeback kid comeback satisfies all one’s wishes for a Cinderella story for the season.

It remains to be seen whether the kid can improve his passing game enough to really be a premiere quarterback. But to whatever extent he can improve them, he will. Among the thoroughbreds who play QB in the NFL, Tebow is that rara avis, a man with something to prove.

Glenn Beck Jumps the Shark (Officially!)

The First Rule of Conservatism is: You do not play the race card on a fellow conservative. (h/t: Instapundit)

The Second Rule of Conservatism is: YOU DO NOT PLAY THE RACE CARD ON A FELLOW CONSERVATIVE.

Now a moment for the definition of terms. By “playing the race card” I mean concluding from a logically fallacious set of premises that someone is a racist without their being any overt evidence of that racism.

This is not the same as calling out a fellow rightie on a particularly racist comment or display. If Glenn Beck were to suddenly say “I can’t stand those dirty Chinese,” it would not be playing the race card to say “Yeah, Glen, that was kind of racist. You should apologize.” When the wingnut-osphere jumped on Trent Lott with both feet after he seemed to suggest that things would be better if the Dixiecrats had won the presidency in 1948, that was but a necessary policing of our own.

But that’s not what Becky has done. He has adopted the Garafalo argument, hook line and sinker, for no better reason than to needlessly disparage those who might favor Newt Gingrich for the GOP nomination.

Principled conservatives can argue over whether Gingrich is really one of us or not. But to pretend that his proposed policies differ in no significant way from Obama’s is to argue something demonstrably false. Gingrich may not be a Tea Partier; he cannot be an Obama Democrat.

That Beck has so tiresomely elided these differences indicates how erratic a tribune he has become.

Next, to "Restoring Relevance"

UPDATE: Ladd Ehlinger got to this yesterday, with the same headline. But he doesn’t have a cool .jpg, does he?

MORE UPDATE: Riehl World View chimes in as well, and makes an important point about Gingrich:

Newt Gingrich has pledged to appoint Supreme Court Justices with an originalist view of the Constitution. That is no small issue; it’s a critical one for both Conservatives and Libertarians. In contrast with Obama’s two appointees, that alone is reason enough for Tea Party voters to support Gingrich over Obama. Add in the fact that any GOP administration, even one of a so-called Progressive Republican, would be subject to significant internal and external influence from the GOP’s Conservative and Libertarian wings and you can begin to appreciate just how foolish are Beck’s recent ramblings.

 

Paul Krugman Throws Down the D-Word, Tells Fascist Ghost Stories.

On first glance, this would seem to be the kind of column (h/t: Memeorandum) I could agree with: we are in a Depression, the unemployment problem isn’t acceptable, etc. But what Kruggo intends by this can be summed up in this clause:

…ominous political trends shouldn’t be dismissed just because there’s no Hitler in sight.

Why, whoever could you be talking about, Kruggo?

Most of the column is directed at Hungary’s governing center-right Fidesz party, which is undoing democracy by the following means:

A proposed election law creates gerrymandered districts designed to make it almost impossible for other parties to form a government; judicial independence has been compromised, and the courts packed with party loyalists; state-run media have been converted into party organs, and there’s a crackdown on independent media; and a proposed constitutional addendum would effectively criminalize the leading leftist party.

In other words, everything Franklin Roosevelt did (excepting the last, of course), everything that Krugman would judiciously ignore if Barack Obama did. And what was Roosevelt’s justification for these measures? Why the Depression, of course.

This column says more than it says.

In Case You Didn’t Know, Journalists are Carnies…

…and they “have a professional obligation never to give a sucker an even break.

Willie Geist and Wolf Blitzer hit up the convenience store for Elmer's Glue, thumbtacks, and black-tar heroin.

I think RS McCain may be on to something here. While one may doubt that this particular collection of alchies and junkies have any real desire to see Santorum propelled to the White House, the show must go on. Plus, Santorum’s social-con bona fides will make him vulnerable in their eyes. And carnies are nothing if not carnivorous.

But if McCain is right, then two interesting questions follow:

  1. Does a more-conservative-than-thou fight between Gingrich and Santorum benefit Mitt Romney? Or make him more irrelevant?
  2. If Gingrich can survive Santorum, does he burnish his front-runner status?

UPDATE: According to the crowd at Ace’s, Diane Sawyer moderated the whole debate drunker than a Freshman on Labor Day.

It's the Carny Code.

Newt Gingrich and the Kamikaze Presidency…

In an interview with the gang at Coffee & Markets (h/t: Memeorandum), Gingrich says something interesting with reference to the Paul Ryan business:

The question was: if there’s a program that is very unpopular, should Republicans impose it? And my answer is no. When we passed welfare reform, 92% of the American people supported it, including 88% of people on welfare. Reagan ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide. And I think conservatives have got to understand: you govern over the long run by making the American People think you’re doing a good job, and think you’re doing what they want.

What’s important to note is that this is not the Tea Party approach, which has more than a little of “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” to it. As a general rule, I support the Tea Party approach, as 1) I’m not certain that incremental conservatism will sufficiently address our yawning financial crisis, and 2) we need to have some push from the Right to even get the ball moving at all in our direction.

The thrill of nominating a Bachmann or a Palin (or even a Santorum) would be to see that person do everything that the Left hates. To hear their lamentations as political power was wrested away from them, and their treasured institutions undone.

But Gingrich has a point. Even if you accept, as some at Protein Wisdom do, that Obama is doing exactly what he wants, he’s not becoming popular by doing so. He’s not making his party stronger by doing so. And if a real conservative is unable to convince the mushy middle that they did the right thing in electing him or her, then that mushy middle is going to change it’s mine four years hence.

The Kamikazes were a powerful weapon in the hands of the Japanese. They were scary. They sunk lots of ships. They affected the outcome of the war not one iota, because destroying the enemy does nothing unless you can force him back. If we were to somehow elect Ron Paul, Ron Paul would busily construct himself to demolishing every last addition to the federal bureaucracy since the Jackson Administration. And unless he had the American people on his side every step of the way, he’d be gone in a quatrain of years, and his Democratic successor would put everything back, and more, even faster. Because destroying, even necessary destroying, is not the same as governing.

Obama may well end up a Kamikaze President for the Left. It may not be the best idea to have one of our own.

UPDATE: Dustbury.com suggests a compromise, wherein we simply destroy everything going back to the Johnson Administration. I would laud such, even if I was uncertain if he meant Andrew or Lyndon.