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  • Why Paris Hilton Makes a Poor Poster Child for the Death Tax

    Posted by Shannon Love on November 18th, 2012 (All posts by )

    From Instapundit:

    “The idea behind the estate tax is to prevent the very wealthy among us from accumulating vast fortunes that they can pass along to the next generation,” said Patrick Lester, director of Federal Fiscal Policy with the progressive think tank — OMB Watch. “The poster child for the estate tax is Paris Hilton — the celebrity and hotel heiress. That’s who this is targeted at, not ordinary Americans.”[emp added]

    This is just one problem with that little story:

    Conrad Nicholson Hilton (December 25, 1887 – January 3, 1979) was an American hotelier. He is well known for being the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain.

    In 1979, Hilton died of natural causes at the age of 91. He is interred at Calvary Hill Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Dallas, Texas. He left $500,000 to each of his two surviving siblings and $10,000 to each of his nieces, nephews and to his daughter Francesca. The bulk of his estate was left to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation,[6] which he established in 1944. His son, Barron Hilton, who spent much of his career helping build the Hilton Hotels Corporation, contested the will, despite being left the company as acting President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. A settlement was reached and, as a result, Barron Hilton received 4 million shares of the hotel enterprise, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation received 3.5 million shares, and the remaining 6 million shares were placed in the W. Barron Hilton Charitable Remainder Unitrust.[6] Upon Barron Hilton’s death, Unitrust assets will be transferred to the Hilton Foundation[citation needed], of which Barron sits on the Board of Directors as Chairman.[7]

    On December 25, 2007, Barron Hilton announced that he would leave about 97% of his fortune (estimated at $2.3 billion),[7] to a charitable unitrust which would eventually be merged with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.[8] By leaving his estate to the Foundation, Barron not only donated the fortune he had amassed on his own, but also returned to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation the Hilton family fortune amassed by his father, which otherwise would have been gone to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 30 years previously had Barron not contested his father’s will.[emp added]

    So, not only has Paris Hilton not inherited anything yet, because her grandfather is still alive, she won’t inherit anything major ever. It all goes to charity. Paris Hilton is a sleazoid, but she is a largely a self-made sleazoid. Her personal financial assets are almost entirely the result of her leveraging her, uh, other assets via secret sex tape into a bizarre celebrity career. She’s worth several hundred million now, none of it inherited.

    Paris Hilton has been trotted out by Leftists for years as an example of the need for the death tax and yet apparently none of them bothered to actually check if she was actually an heiress. The elite Democrats who carefully construct the party’s talking points, don’t seem to even bother to check Wikipedia. (Or they do and just assume that the average Leftist voter won’t.)

    The real point of interest here is not the inanity of the death tax, but rather the studied indifference of the Democrats and Leftists in general to actually studying the wealthy and telling the truth about them.

    Leftists tell us repeatedly that wealthy business people are literally the source of all the world’s woes, both present and historical. Leftists continuously assert that the wealthy form a coherent and self-reinforcing class who systematically plots against and exploits the rest of the population. Contemporary Leftism basically boils down to the assertion that we non-wealthy need a powerful, invasive Leftists controlled super state to protect us from the evil wealthy.

    Given that their ideology hinges on the premise that the government must protect us from the wealthy, you would think that they would invest a great deal of time and money in the deep, scientific study of the behavior of the wealthy.   Yet they don’t. There is only one existing scientific study of the wealthy, Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionare Mind, and even that one is a fairly limited study based on a self-selected population of millionaires answering a questionnaire.

    By contrast, Leftists have churned out hundreds of thousands of studies of the poor, middle-class and just about everyone in the world except the wealthy, especially the American wealthy. The hole in the data is glaring and obvious. It’s like listening to a medical researcher going on and on about the horrors of AIDS  only to discover that in his lab, he spends all his time studying fleas on hamsters.

    The obvious explanation is the the Left doesn’t study the wealthy scientifically, systematically or, at all,  because they are afraid of what they might find. Stanley’s work reported that 65% of American millionaires are self-made having worked 60+ hours a week for 20 years or more building a business. Most live far below their means with only a upper middle-class lifestyle. Such hard working, job creating, thrifty people would be hard to vilify in a political debate.

    Instead, the Left relies wholly on stereotypes, rumor and literary tropes to cast the terms of the debate. The Left is in the business of savagely attacking and looting the core economic-creatives of our economy. If the science reported that the wealthy earn their wealth by being significantly and disproportionately more productive than the rest of us, the Left would be finished. They don’t want a real scientific model of how these people came to be wealthy. Such a model might not say what the Left wants it to say. Instead, they want a fantasy narrative that they and they alone control

    In the Democrat’s fictional, fantasy narrative, Paris Hilton is a archetypical spoiled-little-miss-rich-bitch who obviously doesn’t deserve a billion dollar windfall just because of who her great-grandaddy was.  That fictional narrative will sell the tax increase that will provide the mound of cash the Democrats so desperately want to get their hands on. The fact of Conrad Hilton being a self-made man who started the Hilton chain in backwater Cisco, Tx and who worked for decades creating much of the modern hotel industry, doesn’t justify as much looting. The fact that he left it all to charity, really, really doesn’t fit the fictional narrative of a wealthy, evil capitalist. The suggestion that sleezoid Paris Hilton owes her current wealth more to Feminist and other Leftists who tore down traditional sexual mores while glorifying porn and self-indulgent promiscuous sexuality, actively hurts. No, better the debate stay in the realm of fiction.

    Even if they are forced to admit that Paris is not the fictional character they claimed, they will airily assert with a casual wave of the hand that there are large numbers of other heirs out there who could fulfill the role. What they won’t do is actually try to test that assertion scientifically. They don’t want to risk finding an “inconvenient truth” and tearing another  hole in their plot.

    It’s not just the issue of the wealthy and death taxes that Leftists turn into moralistic fictional narratives. They do it for everything from alternative energy to war to history. Unlike the rest of us, Leftists politicians, activist and intellectuals, pay no natural penalty for treating fictional narratives as fact. As long as enough people mistake the fantasy for reality, they can weave vast fantasies e.g. Freudianism, over the course of many decades and prosper doing so. When a particular narrative no longer serves its purpose  e.g. American military people turning into Nazis in Vietnam,  they just drop it down the memory hole , invent another and pretend the old story never really had any importance.

    For Leftists, the fictional narrative is everything. The fiction is their truth, the truth they absolutely believe…for now. Orwell warned us about this.

    Fictional narratives, cultural stereotypes and outright bigotry are not the basis for a sound and just tax policy. They’re just the basis of the Left’s success.

     

    42 Responses to “Why Paris Hilton Makes a Poor Poster Child for the Death Tax”

    1. Ginny Says:

      Our desire for narrative – a passion that has traditionally helped us make sense of our experience and understand human nature – has been subverted by those without experience and who misunderstand human nature. Well, at least either as I would call them experience or understanding. My daughter tells me that friends of her friends (academic, of course, but of what country and what discipline I don’t know) have begun to name their children after Lenin and Stalin. Contemplate for a while what kind of history you would have to know to do that. And I don’t think this is an urban legend – though we can hope.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The best example for the death tax I can think of is Teddy Kennedy. I’m rereading the Tom Clancy series of Jack Ryan novels now and the one I’m presently reading has a thinly disguised portrait of Teddy in it.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Michael Kennedy,

      The best example for the death tax I can think of is Teddy Kennedy.

      Heh… The trouble with singling out someone despised, is that we don’t have a body of law for, “taxing people I think have unearned wealth.” Taxes, like rain in Shakespear, fall upon unearned and earned wealth alike, at best.

      The Democrats harping on income taxes means they are specifically targeting a population of the wealthy who are much more likely to be self-made and still producing. People with inheritance, inherit assets e.g. Paris Hilton would inherit a mass of stock in the Hilton hotel chain. Paris might pay a one time chunk of inheritance tax (by randomly selling off some of her stock at below market rate) but from there on she would pay only the 15%-20% capital gains tax for the rest of her life even if she never lifted another finger.

      By contrast, the owner of a small to medium business incorporated a an S-corporation would pay his 39% or more on the income he took out of the company even if he was putting in 90 hour weeks for years on end.

      Inherited wealth and big business do not pay income tax. That is for the little people.

    4. Joe Citizen Says:

      “The real point of interest here is not the inanity of the death tax, but rather the studied indifference of the Democrats and Leftists in general to actually studying the wealthy and telling the truth about them.”

      Really? I have never actually heard anyone reference Paris Hilton in these kinds of discussions. Maybe that is because we argued this issue to death long before Paris Hilton ever showed up. So what if someone used her as an example, and it turns out she is not a good example? Find that particular person and set them straight. But to pretend that someone using an inappropriate example undermines the case for inheritance taxes is absurd.

      “Leftists tell us repeatedly that wealthy business people are literally the source of all the world’s woes”

      Literally? You wouldn’t be literally exaggerating here, would you?

      ” Contemporary Leftism basically boils down to the assertion that we non-wealthy need a powerful, invasive Leftists controlled super state to protect us from the evil wealthy.”

      Funny, although one hears this constantly from people like you, I have never actually heard a contemporary leftist say any such thing. Perhaps you are confusing your rhetoric with what actually is said in the real world.

      “Most live far below their means with only a upper middle-class lifestyle. Such hard working, job creating, thrifty people would be hard to vilify in a political debate.”

      So how did you guys end up nominating one of the few millionaires with a car elevator? And, btw, who lives in all those mansions? Lemme guess, welfare recipients, right?

      “Instead, the Left relies wholly on stereotypes, rumor and literary tropes to cast the terms of the debate”

      And you, Shannon, would absolutely never rely on stereotypes, rumors, or tropes to characterize “The Left”. Btw, what exactly is “the left”? How many people fit into these stereotypes? Is it the 20% who identify as liberal? Is it the 51% who voted for Obama? Is it the 95% who are to the left of you? :)

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Shannon: I am not sure you have proven what you set out to prove.

      First: I am not sure that poor Paris should be the poster girl for the idle rich. She has had a substantial career in Hollywood, despite being skinny and chinless. I know of young women who are more comely and more talented, who have not been on the screen nearly as much Paris.

      Second: the fact that Baron is a billionaire should make us skeptical about what the impact of his fathers will was. Having control of a foundation that controls a major corporation is valuable thing even if you are scrupulous in not taking advantage of it.

      Third: Despite the name, a charitable remainder unitrust is not a charity. It is a trust, a legal device, that holds a quantity of property — in Baron Hilton’s case, say $2 billion of stock, bonds and cash — and pays an annual amount to the beneficiaries based on the value of the property held at the end of the previous year. The minimum rate of payment is 5%. That is each year a $2 billion unitrust with a 5% payout is in existence it must pay $100 million to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may be, and usually are, the spouse and children of the person who created the trust. Only on the expiration of the trust, which may be a term of years or the lives of the beneficiaries, does the property go to the charitable beneficiary.

      Fourth: Did I say the control of a well endowed charitable foundation is a good thing. Yes I did, and I have seen it happen that the control of the foundation became a valuable asset that has been kept in the hands of a single family for a very long time and has made them very prosperous without stealing or misappropriating funds.

      Fifth: The estate tax does about nothing to change the distribution of property. The continued existence of the DuPonts, Rockefellers, and Kennedys, should be your first clue. Sam Walton died a few years ago when the 55% rate was in effect. All the IRS got was Sam’s pick-up truck. They took the estate all they way to the Court of Appeals and lost.

    6. PenGun Says:

      Frank Luntz a right wing apparatchik. His field: “testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate.”

      He came up with ‘death tax’.

      The rest of the world knows it as an estate tax or inheritance tax. It is in place to limit the ability of the rich to extend their influence indefinitely, as was found to happen, well in England anyway.

      Loading terms with extra meaning is uniquely dishonest and a major tool of both business and politics. Entertainment is overwhelmingly used by both as the means to disseminate the new meanings which the powerful use to tighten control.

      Orwell was quite right.

    7. Mike K Says:

      The death tax is called “death duties” in England and Australia. I don’t think Luntz has much influence there. Very few rich, like Conrad Hilton and Joe Kennedy, are subject to it. They make arrangements. The harm is to family farms and businesses, about which you care nothing.

    8. dearieme Says:

      “Death duties” are now called “Inheritance Tax” in the UK. It’s a silly name because it’s not inheritances received that are taxed but the “estate” (i.e. wealth) of the deceased that is taxed.

    9. Mike K Says:

      Dearime, inheritance is what is left, if.

    10. Mark Says:

      Even so, the left already seems to be starting to move towards a “privilege” narrative which holds that the determinants of undeserved success are unfalsifiable, barely-quantifiable immunities to systemic discrimination. In this version of the story, Paris Hilton’s wealth is due to her inheritance of intangible benefits like connections, a familiarity with the mechanisms of personal fortunes, a familial safety net, and that sort of thing. Even though little actual cash changed hands, it holds that she still profited from being descended from wealth, and that this kind of thing is evidence for the existence of an aristocracy.

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Mike K: as we say in the trade, it is a tax on stupidity.

    12. Bill Brandt Says:

      The biggest argument against the death tax (besides the obvious being that all taxes have been paid to get to the point of an estate) – is so many having to sell the asset they inherited to pay for the “tax”.

      But to the Left it is all about “fairness”.

    13. Shannon Love Says:

      Joe Citizen,

      I have never actually heard anyone reference Paris Hilton in these kinds of discussions.

      It’s been a few year. She peaked circa 2006 but if you do a nexus search from then you will see her used as the poster child for the death tax over and over again.

      “Leftists tell us repeatedly that wealthy business people are literally the source of all the world’s woes”
      Literally? You wouldn’t be literally exaggerating here, would you?

      Heh, when I was a child back in the 70s, Texas was also in the bottom of its drought cycle. My grandfather quipped one day that politicians would take credit for gods rain and blame the drought on the other fella. Back then, the idea that politicos would actually blame negative weather events on their political opponents was so clearly silly that it was a basis for comedic exaggeration.

      Now, it is common place for Leftists to pop up everytime there is bad weather and blame it on global warming which of course is the fault of the rich people who run all those evil corporations.

      Here’s the thing: Leftist aren’t nice people. They have zero self reflection and zero concept of their own genetically hardwired capacity for selfish and evil behavior. They have systematically disengaged all the external cultural safe guards that might have pulled them away their darwinian programed self-centeredness and narcissism. They become a toxic mix of greed, power lust and hatred all rationalized as compassion and rationalism.

      They lie to everyone, especially themselves and thereby do horrible things to others for utterly selfish petty reason e.g. abandoning the people of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge just so they could demonstrate cultural dominance over their fellow Americans.

      Leftism is not the goal, leftism is the tool. It is a tool that allows non-productive but articulate intellectuals to seize power over Western societies and the wealth producing individuals. As such, the Leftists description of ALL EVENTS, are worked into narratives whose moral is that Leftists intellectuals should be in charge of our society. Every event.

      Even an earthquake will become narrative about how greedy corporations failed to support the right building codes or how right wing politicians blocked relief. Hell, if your average leftists turned on the news tomorrow and saw alien flying saucers zapping skyscrapers in New York, their first thought would be, “What did the Republicans do to provoke the aliens?”

      You just don’t notice the pattern because you are so immersed in it. If you don’t believe me, lets play a little game. You find some real world event, (something on earth because I don’t think Leftists pay much attention to astronomy) over the last four years, and I will find some Leftists turning into a narrative about the need for Leftists power.

      ” Contemporary Leftism basically boils down to the assertion that we non-wealthy need a powerful, invasive Leftists controlled super state to protect us from the evil wealthy.”
      Funny, although one hears this constantly from people like you, I have never actually heard a contemporary leftist say any such thing. Perhaps you are confusing your rhetoric with what actually is said in the real world.

      They say it all the time. You’ve said it repeatedly, just not in such honest and stark words. However, pick almost any subject and I will be able to ask you a series of questions that will drill down to exactly that assertion. At the base, that is what you believe, what you have to believe for your political positions to have a rational basis in a set of axioms.

      The problem is, you don’t actually know why you think the things you do. You don’t know what assumptions lay underneath the political position you hold.

      “Most live far below their means with only a upper middle-class lifestyle. Such hard working, job creating, thrifty people would be hard to vilify in a political debate.”
      So how did you guys end up nominating one of the few millionaires with a car elevator? And, btw, who lives in all those mansions? Let me guess, welfare recipients, right?

      Because one has nothing to do with the other and you just got controlled by Leftist’s narrative. You just made a reflexive, preprogrammed emotional response to a statement of fact. You didn’t criticize the methodology of the study or any other factual basis you just veered off into irrelevant snark. Just like you were programmed to do. It’s an interesting defense mechanism to prevent you from thinking or having original thoughts.

      Think about it. You obviously don’t have any hard data about the people you want to tax so punitively. Why is that? Shouldn’t a political ideology that ostentatiously claims to be based on facts and reason start any analysis of an issue like taxation and wealth distribution with a careful and honest study of who earns what and how? Why, instead of responding to my assertion with hard facts of your own were you reduced to snark. What didn’t the people who “taught” you give you all this information about the wealthy and how they got that way?

      Why don’t you know something so fundamental to your ideas Citizen Joe? Why didn’t your indoctrinators give you this powerful tool to not only make rational, humane and just decisions but to easily win political debates?

      The answer is in the OP. They never told you, never even bothered to check themselves because it’s not part of the narrative. They have their story and that’s all they need. Actually researching the matter might disrupt the narrative.

      Why don’t you know Citizen Joe?

      And you, Shannon, would absolutely never rely on stereotypes, rumors, or tropes to characterize “The Left”.

      Not as much as most because I consciously understand that I am both a limited creature and innately prone to rationalize selfish acts. The problem with the Left is that its all a story, its all narrative. E.g. All studies agree that the Tea Party is composed of primarily by people who middle-class, mostly self-employed, mostly white and people who live in the suburbs or small town. These are also the demographics for people that twin paired studies have determined are the least racist group in America. Now, how much Leftwing fantasy narrative have you seen saying that the Tea Party is full of racist? See, it’s the story that counts, not the facts.

      Now, you may be saying, I don’t now if what Shannon said about the twin-paired studies is correct or not, but shouldn’t you? If the Democrats have been running around smearing a group of people unjustly, shouldn’t that be something you should know? Did you ever think to check?

      What don’t you know Citizen Joe?

      Btw, what exactly is “the left”? Is it the 95% who are to the left of you? :)

      If you don’t know what is meant by “the left” perhaps you should go back to school. We presume here at Chicagoboyz that posters have at least a grasp of the accepted nomenclature. We’re here to exchange ideas not provide basic education.

      However, the short answer is that Leftist believe elitist rule by articulate intellectuals. They will rationalize that such rulers will act in the greater common good and that means they are really egalitarian but that is merely rhetoric. In practice, they create policies and institutions that remove legal decision making authority from individuals and invest it in the state. By preference they avoid the input of non-elites whenever possible. Leftists believe in the unconstrained vision of man in which some humans are moral and intellectually perfected beings who always make the right decisions our unselfish desires for the greater good. Leftists believe a just world can only be obtained by constant use of violence or threats of violence on the part of the elite.

      Modern Leftists respect no personal freedom save those related to sex. In all other matters, they believe that the state, when run by Leftists should have total override of any personal decision. Leftists will historical carve out niches of freedoms for their fellow articulate intellectuals e.g. academics, writers, artist, journalist etc but everyone else has no intrinsic right to work and live freely.

      When I personally speak of Leftists, I usually mean people I term “the Greater Leftists” i.e. people like professors, writers, activist, media members and politicians who generate the rationalizing narrative. These are the people whom Leftism evolved to serve.

      How many people fit into these stereotypes?

      They’re not stereotypes, they are statistical demographics. They describe shared or overlapping similarities within large groups. Most political scientist would say that a simple left-right spectrum fails to catch a lot of nuisance. Based on the 2010 election, roughly 40% of the US electorate woul qualify as Leftists while roughly the same number would qualify as non-Leftists.

      Is it the 20% who identify as liberal?

      Today, people who self-identify as liberal are very rare. “Liberal” was associated with the failed policies of the 70s so they switched to “progressive”. Around 25% of the population self-indentify as “progressive”. According to virtually al studies of the matter, all liberal0arts academics, 80% of journalist, 90%+ of all types of artist etc are of the progressive or “far left.”

      Is it the 95% who are to the left of you?

      Actually, around 60% of the population is to the right of me on issues like gay rights and drug legalization. About 75% are to right on matters of government spending. I’m nearly dead center on abortion. About 60% are to the left of me on military matters. About 70% are to the left on environmental matters. I could go on.

      If you think that myself or the other Chicagobozy represent less than 5% of the population, why do you bother to drop by. such a small minority would have no effect on politics. Wait. let me quess, you’ve been programed by the Democratic narrative that says that anyone who disagrees with them to any significant extent is an “extremist” and you’ve assumed that means they must represent a tiny sliver of the population. You probably live in a leftwing community and only see leftwing ideas reflected back to you in the major media and virtually all entertainment so you’ve swallowed the illogical narrative that you political opponents are both a small unrepresentative group AND a major electorial threat.

      Let me fill you in. If people actually are extremist e.g. the Tea Party, then they aren’t significant by definition. Democracy doesn’t work at the extreme. At best you can accuse some individual or small group of secret extremism but that’s nto what the Democrats do is it? The Tea Party or Second Amendment supporters or pro-life or just about any major political segment on the right is constantly labeled as extremist but if they are actually extremist they should, by definition, not appeal to enough of the population to be a political factor.

      Sorry to write so much but your uncrittical reliance on the Leftists narrative has left a lot of holes in your knowledge I have to shovel a lot of dirt to fill them in.

    14. Dan from Madison Says:

      “Sorry to write so much but your uncrittical reliance on the Leftists narrative has left a lot of holes in your knowledge I have to shovel a lot of dirt to fill them in.” haha quote of the day, started my Monday off right.

    15. alanstorm Says:

      Everybody is missing one point so far. Let’s assume that Paris Hilton did, or stands to, inherit millions. I agree that she’s basically an oxygen thief – so what? Under what concept does that make it acceptable to punish her and any other heirs for their choice of parents? And are those who support death taxes trying to seriously say that she is an example of the majority of heirs?

      Another point: If the goal is to prevent conglomerations of wealth (which is not itself proven to be a positive good), why does the death tax begin so low? IIRC, it’s levied on estates more than 5 megabucks, and due to fall to 1 megabuck, hardly a plutocrat by today’s standards. Those who support this idea, please explain this one.

      Third point: considering that the revenue brought in by this is a drop in the bucket, why is the left so insistent on pushing this?

      Oh, right. Their conception of “fairness”, along with the incomprehensible idea that government can best dispose of the assets, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

    16. Bill Brandt Says:

      Alanstorm – I think Obama admitted at one point his insistence on the “rich” paying more would not help the economy but it would be “fair”. The hard core are more interested in what they consider “fair” than anything that works.

    17. alanstorm Says:

      Bill, you are correct. As an engineer, insisting on “fairness” (for undefined values of fairness – see the definition of “fair share” for an example) over something that works offends me greatly.

    18. James Says:

      The IRS resources used to try and collect inheritance taxes are not well spent. That is the problem. For every 97 cents spent on IRS administration of the Estate Tax Division they collect $1.00
      or 3 additional cents. Those resources if they were spent in the Income Tax audit division would collect about $1.00 for every 3 additional cents spent. (Figures approximate)
      In general, people who have to pay estate taxes have fleets of accountants and lawyers knowledgeable about such matters who prepare proper returns and there are only a relative small handful of taxable estates. The return on IRS investment is very small and the sums expended would be much better spent in the income audit division.
      This change of emphasis would be effective but not very popular
      with voters regardless of their political stripe.

    19. Mike K Says:

      Shannon, your essay was interesting but, I fear, wasted on the object of your attempted lesson. I don’t have a problem with disagreement. I used to read and post on leftist blogs until they began to routinely delete my comments. The thing that defines a troll, in my opinion, is the unnecessary insulting or dismissive part of the comment. If we are so stupid or uneducated, why would the troll be interested in reading these posts ? I don’t read cooking blogs because that is not my interest although I do like to cook. It’s all about attention and making ones self feel good.

    20. pst314 Says:

      Shannon Love 1:38am “Modern Leftists respect no personal freedom save those related to sex.”

      Not even that, as is well understood by so many male victims of the feminist doctrine that allows consensual sex to become rape if the woman later changes her mind. Not to mention various others manifestations of the PC pathology.

    21. Joe Citizen Says:

      “Now, it is common place for Leftists to pop up everytime there is bad weather and blame it on global warming which of course is the fault of the rich people who run all those evil corporations.”

      Actually, “leftists”, and scientists, have always claimed that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels which adds a large amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. And that this burning of fossil fuels is a result of the industrial age that we all benefit from and share in. It is the lifestyle that we all enjoy which is the problem, which is why so much of the advocacy that “the left” engages in focuses on individuals trying to minimize their own contributions to the problem. So no, you are just making stuff up here. No one exclusively blames “the rich” or “evil corporations”. It is very instructive to see how you must feel incapable of making honest arguments about things and thus resort to strawman argumentation.

      “Here’s the thing: Leftist aren’t nice people.”

      I see we are going to be dealing with the comic book version of the world here….

      “They have zero self reflection and zero concept of their own genetically hardwired capacity for selfish and evil behavior.”

      Must be because they fail to read your writings on a regular basis. If they did they would see what it looks like when a humble, honest man reflects upon his own limitations and darker tendencies. You are such a role model, Shannon.

      “They become a toxic mix of greed, power lust and hatred…”

      Why don’t you just go for the grand slam of self-delusional hypocrisy and claim that “leftists always write very long blog comments that are filled with insults and name-calling, and not much else”?

      “They lie to everyone, especially themselves and thereby do horrible things to others for utterly selfish petty reason”

      Whereas you just lie to others?

      ” e.g. abandoning the people of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge just so they could demonstrate cultural dominance over their fellow Americans.”

      …for example. What a bizarre story you are trying to weave? Cultural dominance? What is that supposed to mean? You are aware, are you not, that the majority of Americans had turned against the Vietnam War as early as 1968? Which is why Nixon ran, for his first term, on a platform of getting us out of the war, not “winning” it (whatever that would mean). Although it took him 4 years, he eventually signed a peace treaty in ’72, and by the next year, there were no more troops in Vietnam. And, of course, except for brief incursions, there was never any real presence in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge did not take power for another 2 years after that. What on earth are you fantasizing about – that there was ANY support anywhere in America for a reinvasion of SE Asia? What kind of a deep hole of madness do you live in?

      ” the Leftists description of ALL EVENTS, are worked into narratives whose moral is that Leftists intellectuals should be in charge of our society.”

      Whereas you seem hard at work rewriting the history of ALL EVENTS so that they serve the purpose of supporting your lust for power. Are you just looking in the mirror as your write this stuff?

      “Even an earthquake will become narrative about how greedy corporations failed to support the right building codes…”

      Don’t know what specific examples you mean here, but are you denying that people, including businesses, often ( I mean always) lobby for regulations to be written in ways that are most advantageous to their interests?

      “At the base, that is what you believe, what you have to believe for your political positions to have a rational basis in a set of axioms.” – ["leftists" wanting a superstate to protect them from the rich]

      Hmmm. So, in other words, it makes no difference what the people you see as your opponents actually say or do, or say that they think. You have your ideological understanding of what people actually believe, and if they don’t ever say that, well, no matter, you will continue to believe that that is what they really think, because otherwise your little view of the world would crumble and you wouldn’t know what to think any more.

      “You obviously don’t have any hard data about the people you want to tax so punitively. Why is that? ”

      Tax punitively? You mean to give them a tax cut on their first 250K, then to reestablish the higher marginal rate for income above that level to where it was in the nineties? That is punitive? To have overall rates that would still be lower than one of the mmost prosperous, wealth-creating decades in our history? That is the only hard data that is relevant to this question. The upper-income folks did ENORMOUSLY well in the nineties. If I needed to research further, I might check to find out if they might have actually made more money during the years that the top rate was 39.5% than in the past decade. But I don’t need to do that, because it is clear that they got very much richer in both time periods, so no, they are not going to suffer unjustly. We can be sure of that.

      “I consciously understand that I am both a limited creature…”

      Well good Shannon. We all understand that about you, but not because this self-insight informs any of your opinions, or shows through in any of your writing. Its not enough to write a long, slightly psycho, hate-filled diatribe against some huge, but relatively undefined group of people and then at the end tack on some humble sentence. If there were any sincerity or truth to the statement it would inform all of your opinions. You wouldn’t waste your life and your intellectual energies writing comic-book versions of the world.

      “All studies agree that the Tea Party is composed of primarily by people who middle-class, mostly self-employed, mostly white and people who live in the suburbs or small town. These are also the demographics for people that twin paired studies have determined are the least racist group in America. Now, how much Leftwing fantasy narrative have you seen saying that the Tea Party is full of racist? ”

      Wow. Is this the Onion view of social science or something? Small-town, middle class white people are the least racist people in the country? Because of twin studies???
      And even if you believed this, you think it therefore impossible that some relatively tiny, and highly non-random subsample of this group could not possibly be racist?
      How about a different strategy. Why not listen to what some of them actually say?

      “If the Democrats have been running around smearing a group of people unjustly, shouldn’t that be something you should know? ”

      That a twin study says it is impossible for them to be racist? Is this April Fools day in November or something???

      I ask you – what group exactly is included in your definition of “the left”. You answer “… the short answer is that Leftist believe elitist rule by articulate intellectuals.”

      Ah, I see. Maybe we have a resolution here. Maybe we can walk away agreeing on something. I ask you to define the group, and you answer by repeating the characterizations of the group. So lets agree to this – “the Left” (sensu Shannon) shall be understood to encompass all those people who think the way he has laid out in this diatribe. OK? Now we just have to argue about how large that group is. You say 40% of the population. My best estimate would be about 350 people.

      When you wish to put the comic book down and talk about the real world (including all the millions of people for whom the word “left” might really be relevant), get back to me….

    22. Mike K Says:

      Shannon, I take it all back. The troll made your points beautifully. Of course, I skimmed but they all seemed to be there.

    23. Mike K Says:

      I can’t resist one fat target.

      “If I needed to research further, I might check to find out if they might have actually made more money during the years that the top rate was 39.5% than in the past decade.”

      This is the theory that higher taxes create wealth, a well known delusion of the left. If 39.5% makes people rich, why not 50% ? Or 75% as France is trying to do ?

    24. PenGun Says:

      “Mike K: as we say in the trade, it is a tax on stupidity.”

      No that’s the lottery. A tax on those who cannot count.

    25. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Rodentia Enthusiast Says:

      }}} he spends all his time studying fleas on hamsters.

      Indeed. Hamsters are much too large. Clearly, one should be studying fleas on gerbils for any kind of authenticity among the GB&LT community… (8^9

    26. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} Instead, they want a fantasy narrative that they and they alone control

      You are wrong, sirrah, when you assert that they have done no studies of wealth and how it is used. They have spent many a year reading Barks, and studying The McDuck and The Bin. If lies at the heart of everything they know about wealth and the wealthy.

      }}} For Leftists, the fictional narrative is everything. The fiction is their truth, the truth they absolutely believe…for now. Orwell warned us about this.

      Indeed. I will point out to you the vast number of people made suddenly rich by Lottery wins. The litany of them who suddenly find their lives turned into living hells as wives, children, siblings, and once-friends secretly plot to kill them or steal their money is… amusing, while sad. The number who wind up just as broke as they were before within 5 or so years is also telling.

      Unearned wealth is rarely a boon. It does make some aspects of life better but adds a whole array of complications, most of which the formerly unwealthy are not mentally prepared for nor able to deal with before the excreta hits the windmill.

      The actual thing that Paris Hilton has, that the government can’t take away, nor provide to anyone it gives great wealth to, is CONTACTS.

      She has some idea she wants to try, and it has any merit, she can call a few people and get her idea the financial support to make it work, for a while at the least. And using that money, she can HIRE the people who can and will do the special-skills work that it may require to make it fly, as well. This is without using any of her own wealth, or with only a matching amount…

      You and I have to beg for the same chance. We have to work it all out ourselves, rather than hiring some top-flight business manager with experience starting up businesses and knowing the flaws and pitfalls any new business has to watch out for. We don’t run the business with a first-rate on-site manager who has experience with similar businesses. And so forth.

      And don’t denigrate Paris, either — she PLAYS the bimbo “On TV”, but I suspect that’s a lot more a front than the reality. I suspect she’s actually quite smart — she has some pretty savvy businessmen in her gene pool, and I have no doubt that being presumed as a “dumb blonde” gives her a considerable boost when dealing with the sharps of the world.

      I remember, a couple decades back, the mid-late 1980s, when Paulina Poritzcova was on David Letterman. Paulina came up through the Czech intelligencia when she was only 14 or less, so she’d been dealing with some pretty smart people all her teen years into adulthood. Letterman figured he had a dumb supermodel bimbo on his hands. It was funny, he’d start setting her up to make some smartass wisecrack with her as a straight man… she’d see it coming a mile away, and with a quick quip she’d just nail it dead before it got started. If you were watching and attentive, you saw this happen several times in a row, and Letterman was getting majorly pissed by it. All his good, carefully prepared snark, wasted! That bitch!! :^D

      Elle MacPherson was no bimbo, either… she was aiming for Law School when she got “found”.

      We’ve got these societal images of beautiful women as bimbos, but they rarely match those. Some do, but a lot less than people realize. Often, beautiful women just USE the expectation to their benefit.

    27. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      BTW, most of the uber-rich put their money into tax free foundations… just as the two Hiltons are doing. Rockefeller, Kennedy, Bill & Melinda Gates, The Waltons (I’d include Buffet, but he’s actually arranged to meld his into the B&MG Foundation when he dies)

      Control over those foundations still represents essential control over the wealth, if you imagine otherwise, I know of a GREAT deal to be made on some LAND…

    28. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} Even though little actual cash changed hands, it holds that she still profited from being descended from wealth, and that this kind of thing is evidence for the existence of an aristocracy.

      Indeed, Mark, I was making much the same point. But this is not something the government can give or take away, can it?

      }}} Here’s the thing: Leftist aren’t nice people. They have zero self reflection and zero concept of their own genetically hardwired capacity for selfish and evil behavior. They have systematically disengaged all the external cultural safe guards that might have pulled them away their darwinian programed self-centeredness and narcissism. They become a toxic mix of greed, power lust and hatred all rationalized as compassion and rationalism.

      They also lack any semblance of “common sense”, or wisdom (“learning from experience”, as opposed to “learning from books”). If there were a “WQ” to match “IQ”, then leftists would consistently rank in the bottom 1/3rd of the metric.

      }}} It’s an interesting defense mechanism to prevent you from thinking or having original thoughts.

      It works hand in hand with the Liberal Midnight Reset Button® to protect Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma®.

      Consider:
      a) Suppose you meet a libtard who appears reasonable. They are open and honest and fully willing to discuss, without excessive histrionics, any point of view they espouse… (yes, this is admittedly rare)
      b) Now, pick a topic dear to them, which you know they believe in but which you also know to be clearly wrongheaded, even if well-meaning.
      c) Start with their supposition, and take them, step by logical step through from their supposition, getting acquiescence at each stage: “Yeah, that follows, uh-huh…”. Show by such reasoning that the net affect of their supposition is the end result will be the exact opposite of what they purportedly support or believe in.
      d) OK, you’ve won. Now what? Wait. You’ll hear something like… “Hmmm. I’m going to have to think about that.”, and you’ll go your own separate ways.
      e) Now, a week passes, seek them out. Bring the subject of their supposition up again, subtly. You will hear them espousing the exact same notions of their original supposition unchanged, unaltered, as though the entire reasoning process you took them through in “c” never happened!

      So what happened? The Liberal Midnight Reset Button® is what happened. At some point in the ensuing day or so, after they dropped off to sleep, their tiny widdle libtard brain started to process the new information. It carefully examined the new information in relation to Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma® (OALD), found it to be unacceptably running counter to it, and purged the new information without adding it to the libtard’s store of knowledge. BAM, conflict ended, Liberal Twitticism remains intact.

      With practice, you can even watch this thing start to kick in as you have the discussion with them. In many cases, if they learn you’re “dangerous” to their precious Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma®, they will preemptively act to terminate, redirect, or otherwise alter the conversation to avoid the necessary mental CPU cycles required to purge the non-agreeing data.

      You think I’m being facetious? Only in a sense. This process does exist and it really does act to prevent true libtards from actually learning anything new. ;) And I’ve seen it kick in on more than one occasion.

    29. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} These are also the demographics for people that twin paired studies have determined are the least racist group in America.

      Not that I doubt this in the least, but, by all means, please cite a source for this. I’d like to have it readily available for debate.

    30. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} Shannon, your essay was interesting but, I fear, wasted on the object of your attempted lesson.

      Mike, I can’t speak for Shannon, but I’ve been asked the same question on occasion. My answer is simple: I ain’t doin’ it for them. I’m doing it for the following reasons:

      1) Hey, I might be surprised. Maybe they’ll have a valid argument. If I assume they can’t, I’m being almost as arrogant as they are.
      2) I’m not putting the argument out there to convince them. I’m putting it out there to convince those looking on, who might be fooled by their arguments.
      3) I’m forcing myself to carefully recite my arguments, thereby subjecting them to re-analysis and refinement in the light of ever-new data, both to bolster the argument as well as to deal with any flaws which have crept in among the new data but which connection I might not previously have made.
      4) Bertrand Russell’s 10 commandments for philosophizers:
      #8 — Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement,
      . for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a
      . deeper agreement than the latter.
      5) It does often open up avenues for great snark in the midst of the otherwise probative discussion.

    31. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      Joe, a little secret for you:

      Just naysaying your opponent’s statements isn’t argument.

    32. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} Why not listen to what some of them actually say?

      Joe, the first liberal I meet who has the power to shut me down and end the discussion with my silence that does not do so when they are losing the argument (generally for lack of actual proof of anything other than mere restatement of their parrot-level talking points) will be the first.

      I’ve had a least three discussions recently with self-defined liberals none of whom wanted to actually discuss facts. They wanted to toss out their parrot points and get them acceded to, and when that failed to happen the discussion ended, and my capacity to say anything more was terminated by them. So “listening to what others say” is not, trust me, a liberal strength. Telling others THEY need to do so is a pretty ridiculous claim. “Pot. Kettle. Some color of some kind.”

      Do note that those three times are hardly a small subset of my experiences. Polite discussion of the facts under disagreement is not something liberals have any interest in, almost uniformly. They want parrot points stated and agreed to, and anything else is not to be allowed.

    33. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} }}} These are also the demographics for people that twin paired studies have determined are the least racist group in America.

      }}} Not that I doubt this in the least, but, by all means, please cite a source for this. I’d like to have it readily available for debate.

      BTW, notice the difference between my response to this and Joe’s. I wanted to know more about it. I wanted the proof in my own hands. Joe immediately just poo-pooed it because it didn’t fit his little narrative. He denigrated it and got snarky about it, rather than attempting to find out more so he could either re-assess his position, or, if it were defective, call into question what it said and why. It didn’t fit his little narrative, so clearly it MUST be wrong.

    34. renminbi Says:

      I grew up on the Upper West Side (NYC) during the fifties. There were a number of communists in the neighborhood and interestingly they never called themselves communists. They used the euphemistic term “progressive” instead. They might ask of someone “is he progressive?” This was not a reference to La Follett or Teddy Roosevelt and no one would mistake these people for liberals. There was a theme to their lives and it seemed to be envy, and it showed in the catty remarks they would make about their neighbors. I recall one man who would always tell me how stupid Einstein was.
      These were angry people who were consumed by their own bitterness; many of them of them died before they were sixty. Reminds me of the types you see on MSNBC.

      This blog gets excellent commentary and even the trolls here are of a much higher quality
      than on other blogs in so far as they at least try to make an argument.

    35. Joe Citizen Says:

      Mike K,

      “This is the theory that higher taxes create wealth,”

      No Mike, it is “theory” that a slightly higher tax rate in the middle of a very strong expansionary period, may net the businessman more money than a slightly lower tax rate during an extended period of mediocre growth.

      If this doesn’t make sense to you, maybe you do a survey of businessmen. Ask them if they would prefer a top marginal rate of 39.5% with an economy that has GDP growth rates above 3%, or at top marginal rate of 35% with GDP growth under 2%.

      But beyond the question of the content of this hypothesis lies the question of why you feel the need to mischaracterize it. My meaning was quite obviously clear in my original comment, and there was nothing that I said that could lead anyone to conclude that I believed that “higher taxes create wealth”. Why not try honest argumentation, rather than childish attempts to score points?

    36. Joe Citizen Says:

      Bupkis,

      “Joe immediately just poo-pooed it because it didn’t fit his little narrative. He denigrated it and got snarky about it,”

      No, I poo-pooed it because the very premise of using a study like that to address the question of whether the Tea Party contains racists is utterly ridiculous.

      How can you imagine that such a study could answer such a question? If the study is valid, and makes valid points then we would know what? – that some very large category of Americans have a slightly lesser tendency to be racist? How does that answer the question of whether the Tea Party is racist? Even if most of the Tea Party derives from that category?

      That is like saying (hypothetical example here) that a twin study shows that homosexuality is found at a slightly lower level amongst blacks, therefore a (hypothetical) coalition of young, urban, liberal blacks could not possibly have any gays in it, or support gay friendly policies. You don’t need to read the study to know that the premise of using the study for this reason is absurd.

      I repeat the solution that seemed rather obvious to me, and one which you poo-pooed for some reason that I cannot fathom. If you want to know if the Tea Party contains racists then, at least as a first pass, just listen to what they say.

    37. Mike K Says:

      “Hey, I might be surprised. Maybe they’ll have a valid argument. If I assume they can’t, I’m being almost as arrogant as they are.”

      But we never are, are we ?

    38. grey eagle Says:

      Joe Citizen (I love that reference to the French revolution)_ and PennGun (a reference to Foster the People’s hit song) believe in their Theory. They believe that a governmemt can execute their Theory correctly and that the results will be the results predicted by the Theory. Their Theory assumes that such a governmemt is possible.

      Both have neither studied history nor have any inclination to do so. They assume the past is failure and their Theory explains the past so well that there is no need to confuse themselves with history of failure. And I agree. Histories are no more accurate than the newspapers and recollections historians use as sources. Historians can know who what where, but seldom why.

      So they argue that absent reliable historical fact, a theory logically based on ignorance is better than no theory at all.

      No matter how much you remind them of the past, they will bitterly cling to their theories.

      Yogi once said: “In theory theory and practice are the same; in practice they ain’t.”

    39. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}}} No, I poo-pooed it because the very premise of using a study like that to address the question of whether the Tea Party contains racists is utterly ridiculous.

      No, Joe, you just rather blatantly mis-stated the contention, showing what your narrative is.

      It didn’t say the Tea Party HAD NO RACISTS. It said that the Tea Party was derived from a base of the populace which had the LOWEST overall level of racism in the USA (If I understand it correctly, mind you… I haven’t seen the report, but that’s CLEARLY what was stated).

      Of course the Tea Party has racists. Any group of over about 20 people is pretty much guaranteed to have a racist in it. But you can’t deal with the notion that it’s not FULL of racists, because that’s your narrative. And so you categorically reject, with no proof or argument needed, anything that fails your narrative. Someone provides you with a claim of a scientific study that refutes that — not a mere assertion of the notion, not a supposition — but an actual study — and you still reject it out of hand.

      It’s all about the narrative. Anything flies in the face of your world view is tossed out, regardless of source, reliability, evidence, factual support, whatever. The world view trumps all.

    40. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} But we never are, are we ?

      Can’t speak for “we”, but *I* try not to be. :-D

    41. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} “if the Tea Party contains racists then, at least as a first pass, just listen to what they say.”

      Oh, by ALL MEANS, Joe — go ahead — cite for us something “the Tea Party” said. WITH A SOURCE, preferably a transcript, so we can
      a) Determine what was actually said.
      b) How much “they” actually represented the Tea Party while saying it.
      c) See how closely YOUR definition of “what was said” matches up with “what was actually said”.

      It’s pretty clear from your twisting of the statement “The Tea Party mostly comes from the least racist group out there” to “The Tea Party contains ABSOLUTELY NO RACISTS!!!” that your listening/reading comprehension is rather substantially defective.

    42. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The Tea Party, like Sarah Palin, was demonized with made-up facts. It is always so, or seems to be. The Tea Party is not dead, as some lefty paper stated the other day. It has tried to sound the warning. Now, it will wait for the crash and try to pick up what is left.

      I’ve been to many meetings. It scared the elite governing class badly, so had to be demonized.

      It helps to read this once in a while.

      As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

      When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.