Sowell On Obama

From the Reason interview:

I mean, to fire the chairman of General Motors, to tell credit card companies how they should run their business, tell GM what kind of cars it should be making, and there’s no sign of an end in sight yet.
The presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back till before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.

Leftism is defined by its hubris. Specifically, the idea that any particular leftist understands how to run any randomly selected industry or economic activity in the entire world. 

14 thoughts on “Sowell On Obama”

  1. Here’s a for instance of how interconnected the world is and how unconnected any one person’s vision is: cutting back advertising for car companies and contemplating making newspapers nonprofits? I realize in the great list of present and potential problems this is minor, but does it make sense?

  2. You sure its a leftist thing? I’m thinking it has a lot to do with being a Princeton man. Every Princeton, Harvard or Yale grad I ever met knew pretty much everything there was to know about everything. There are Ivy Leaguers … and ignorant rabble.

  3. Bill Waddell,

    You sure its a leftist thing?

    It’s not just the ivy leaguers but the post-graduate in feminist studies from a state college that serves you coffee at Starbucks. How many conversations have you had with leftist who will make definitive statements about how this or that industry should be run even though though can balance their own checkbook?

    Even if by some miracle of personal insight they don’t think they personally understand how to do something, they nevertheless have a firm belief in their unerring ability to select the people than can. Somehow, they just always know the right answer to any problem.

  4. I’m sure you are right Shannaon. I have become convinced that a liberal is someone whose education stops when they leave a college campus; while a conservative’s education begins at that point.

  5. American Fascism. The companies are nominally privately owned but run by the government. Didn’t think it would happen this fast.

  6. Bill, aren’t you going a bit out on a limb asuming that a liberal gets educated at college? Juding by their conduct and thought process,that’s an iffy proposition

  7. From a comment by JoeY

    To her credit, she got what I was saying, particularly when I applied it to our respective teenage children. A few minutes consideration revealed many problems to answer the question “It’s so obvious! What could go wrong?”.

    These considerations were foreign to her, not because she was stupid (quite the opposite), but out of a prejudice that the she and people like her can see the solution to any problem. That is why they attack people who disagree with them as stupid, morons, and idiots.

    There is one major exception to this attitude, which is in the person’s area of knowledge. Then, they are as smart and good as advertised, but rarely anywhere else.

  8. David Foster,

    Yes, they’ve actually done studies on the effect. Having specialized knowledge of an area requires that you understand the nuances and tradeoffs that working in the area requires. Unfortunately, people tend to towards narcissism and we tend to think that excellence in one’s area of endeavor is indicative of our global intellectual superiority.

    In the end, the leftist faith in the ability of state to manage everything is actual faith in themselves, as individuals, to manage anything.

  9. Why must every position begin with an anti left notice as though GM in fact could handle its own business? Fact: GM is a failed organization and that tells us something about the “experienced” people in charge. The govt is intervening because too many other jobs are related to the auto industry.A sound free market position? Let them all fail and let the govt sit back and do nothing. If the govt can do nothing why do we let our military (govt run) do our wars…and win them for us?

  10. Fred Lapidies,

    Fact: GM is a failed organization and that tells us something about the “experienced” people in charge.

    Well, yes it is a failed organization and much of the blame for that failure rest on the people who decided what labor saving technology the company would use, who decided how the work would be organized and who control who could be hired, how much they would be paid and how they would be let go if they couldn’t cut it.

    In short, these experienced people who had spent decades in the industry had enormous control over how GM ran key parts of its business. Those experienced people where in the unions.

    When unions got in the business of telling companies how to run their business, they acquired responsibility to how those companies were run. When the unions struck to prevent companies form adopting new efficient technology, they acquired the responsibility for the consequences of not using that technology. When unions used their government granted monopoly to give themselves compensation above what the free-market would provide, they acquired the responsibility for the loss of price competition. When they set hyper detailed work rules for how people would build cars, they acquired responsibility for any inefficiencies those work rules produced.

    When leftist mandated what size cars that they could build, they acquired responsibility for the loss of sales that drove. When they set the highest corporate income taxes in the developed world they acquired responsibility for the price increase and reduced sales. When Michigan and other states piled on the taxes they also required responsibility.

    You get the picture? Now, maybe GM, Chrysler and Ford would all have gotten into trouble if they were free-market companies. Even companies that work in areas like the computer industry in which there are no unions or regulation of any consequence fail. But the management of unionized industries don’t have anything approaching the level of control over their day-to-day operations that non-unionized companies have. Then you add in repeated political interference to accomplish goals unrelated to the health of the company and it becomes unjust to blame them for the failure.

    I don’t know what you do for a living and I seriously doubt I understand off the top of my head how to do it. Suppose I come in some day and forced you to carry out your job in the way I want. Then things screw up. Now, maybe you just did screw up on your own. Maybe you’d have blown it even if I wasn’t there joggling your arm but you’d be pissed as hell to here people blaming just you without taking into consideration my interference.

    The management and investors of the car companies disserve the same consideration you would expect. They didn’t have final say on what they could and could not do to run their companies. Instead, they were given many government enforced limitation and told to work around those limitations. The fact that all three companies failed to adapt strongly suggest he imposed limitations were fatal.

    If the govt can do nothing why do we let our military (govt run) do our wars…and win them for us?

    Ah, the oldest socialist argument in the book. Governments are very good at destroying things therefore they must be equally good at created them. It doesn’t work that way.

    Time precludes a full response but the answer boils down to the very obvious truth that wars are simply activities with very simply defined goals as compared to the economy in general. Wars only last a few years at most, the economy has to be managed over decades. Citizens will sacrifice their lives, freedom and economic well being short term to protect society. They won’t do so everyday of their lives.

  11. “I can’t remember where this came from, but there’s a saying ‘everyone is a reactionary about things he knows anything about’.”

    I believe it was the historian Robert Conquest, and that what he actually said was “everyone is a conservative about the things he knows best.”

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