Quote of the Day

The government has embraced an arrogant ideology. They claim to know the key to prosperity. It’s analogous to communism. They thought the same thing. The clever ones – themselves – would run everything. That’s the analogy. The key to prosperity is to let things run themselves. We’ll liberalize everything, let everyone look after himself, let business, not the state, run the economy. The state should have no views, no policies of its own. Just open it all up, step back, let it go and you’ll see how well everything will work if we just leave things alone.

Vaclav Havel

4 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. It’s not so much an “arrogant ideology” as it is shamanism.

    The shaman had no clear idea of how crops came to grow, how lions came to leave veldebeest carcasses to scavenge, or how it was that game came in reach of the hunters. He had theories based on animism and sympathetic magic, and prescribed based on those theories. Wear the right mask and makeup, do the correct dance at the correct time of day, and make the appropriate sacrifices, and all would be well — and, if not, well, sometimes the gods don’t listen or there are blocking demonic influences, and there’s nothing to be done.

    The people running things have no clear idea of “production”, and in most cases reject the notion; things just appear according to chance and the whim of Universe. It is, however, possible to personalize certain parts of the process, that is, assign spirit components to what in fact aren’t “things” but processes; and of course correlations exist to be observed. Wear the banker-like suit, chant the proper incantations larded with sufficient technobabble and invoking child nutrition, and sacrifice enough recalcitrant naysayers and their bank accounts, and prosperity is sure to follow; if not, well, sometimes human effort isn’t enough or the greedy capITalists block the road, and nothing will work.

    The shaman rejects the notion of sticking perfectly good food in the ground as pernicious nonsense; the kids gotta eat, so it’s better to improve the mask and choreography, and in extremis sacrifice the best hunter, so that he can drive game in from his base in the spirit world. The modern shaman rejects the notion of leaving perfectly good food in the hands of actual people as pernicious nonsense; Jesse needs a new SUV, and it’s better to perfect the “jawboning” and drop another trillion (that doesn’t exist) into the “multiplier”. In both cases, the faith — religious or ideological, as if there were a difference — doesn’t really direct action. It merely serves to identify what to animate, and which correlations are properly the subject of ritual and sacrifice.


  2. Once again, I recommend this essay.

    An excerpt.

    [Gorbachev and Obama] “do have one major thing in common, and that is the belief that, regardless of what the ruler does, the polity he rules must necessarily continue. This is perhaps the most essential, if seldom acknowledged, insight of the post-modern “liberal” mind: that if you take the pillars away, the roof will continue to hover in the air.

    Gorbachev seemed to assume, right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and then beyond it, that his Communist Party would recover from any temporary setbacks, and that the long-term effects of his glasnost and perestroika could only be to make it bigger and stronger.

    There is a corollary of this largely unspoken assumption: that no matter what you do to one part of a machine, the rest of the machine will continue to function normally.

    A variant of this is the frequently expressed denial of the law of unintended consequences: the belief that, if the effect you intend is good, the actual effect must be similarly happy.

    Very small children, the mad, and certain extinct primitive tribes, have shared in this belief system, but only the fully college-educated liberal has the vocabulary to make it sound plausible.”

  3. Politics is a type of lottery with perverse incentives. Almost all politicians rise in power by saying anything and all things. These things don’t make sense in detail, and not knowing the contradictions is an advantage to saying those things with complete sincerity, or at least without smiling.

    Increasing income doesn’t come directly from political success, but from breaking rules, making side deals, coercion, mutual favors, and buying votes from groups which are out for subsidies. Even so, the highest success is achieved by chance.

    Take someone like this after 25 years under these incentives. Why should he believe in a rational universe with any sort of predictible outcome? If or when he causes a collapse, it is an unpredictible earthquake from his point of view. Life certainly seems like merely a social construct to this type of person. He will mostly believe that all success comes from lying and luck, with some sort of mysterious and undeserved skill thrown in.

    Political behavior will only change when the incentives change.

    – –

    The Criminal Mind

    08/20/10 – Belmont Club – A Comment by Tcobb [edited]

    I met career criminals as a defense attorney.
    (1) Although smart, they could not contemplate the future where they might be caught.
    (2) The victims were always supposed to believe their lies. How dare the victims not believe?
    (3) They believed that everything was somebody else’s fault.

    To what extent do the behavioral patterns of our current ruling class mirror that of career criminals?

    – –
    The Political Dictionary: Liberal Economics

    Money falls from heaven for everyone to use. But, the immoral and sneaky rich gather more than their share. The government’s purpose is to redistribute the money the way God intended. Or, if you wish, the way Gaia, or the Tooth Fairy, or whoever intended.

    Taxes remove the excess income of the rich and give it to the voting poor, through a fair and organized bureaucracy. The rich oppose this action by selfishly and spitefully decreasing employment. Government responds by increasing grants and spending, to boost employment. The government runs a deficit while it discovers the “knack” for creating the jobs that the rich are hiding.

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