What Everybody Owns, Nobody Owns

Collective ownership didn't work at Plymouth Rock. John Aman shares the collectivist failure that occurred under a charter which imposed a seven-year period of joint ownership on the original settlers at Plymouth Rock.

Governor Bradford wrote that common ownership "was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort."
After much debate, Governor Bradford
allowed each man to plant corn for his own particular [for his own household] and to trust themselves for that ... so every family was assigned a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number ... this was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the governor or any other could devise.
When the incentive for personal gain is removed by collectivist economies, stewardship of the property does not occur as readily when one directly benefits from his/her own labor. It flies in the face of human nature to believe that a person will work as hard for the benefit of a stranger as he will for himself or his family.

The Pilgrims were much more successful when the political economy aligned with human nature and acknowledged that incentives do matter.

Mike Rosen often uses an analogy to demonstrate the differences in stewardship between collective ownership and individual ownership. He notes that public restrooms are often dirty and have graffiti on the walls. But have you ever seen graffiti on the walls of a private home?

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators inadvertently confirmed this idea with their stewardship of the public spaces they occupied. The destruction and fouling of many of the occupied areas is positive proof that when everybody owns it, nobody owns it. They are able to just walk away from the problem rather than deal with it.

Capitalism recognizes this tendency of human nature.


Right Wing Hate

Chris Matthews has figured out what animates the right. He's not pioneering any new ground however, since it is SOP for many on the left to demonize rather than be thoughtful about the many legitimate differences between the left and the right.

The utter confusion in the Republican presidential nominating process results from two discernible facts. One: they hate. That's the simplest explanation of the disastrous course of this selection process. They hate so much they are not in the mood to fall in love with a candidate or even fall in behind someone. Their brains racked as they are by hatred, they lack the like mode. They are in no mood looking around for a politician they like. The hating is so much more satisfying. Second factor: They aren't respecting experience. Each candidate has his or her time in the limelight yet out there in the audition stage, one after another, has showed they don't have the stuff.
Video at Real Clear Politics

This sums up how many on the left feel about thier ideological competition on the right. The right can't just have differing opinions. They can't just have a different view of how the world works. Nevermind the childishness of such analysis that pretends to not understand what a nominating process is all about. Is he suggesting that even before the primaries that only one favored candidate should remain? Normally Matthews' comments are mean and über-partisan. This is downright embarassing.

It is a characteristic of the left to not deal with substance or nuance and jump directly to dismissal via name calling. Matthews' screed is just that.

The right must be demonized and reduced to the following list of odious sub-humans:
  • stupid
  • ignorant
  • mean spirited
  • war-mongering
  • selfish
  • greedy
  • hateful
  • nativist
  • racist
  • sexist
  • homophobic
  • xenophobic
  • Islamophobic
  • bigoted
  • intolerant
  • fascist
  • misogynistic
  • hypocritical
Other references in this blog to the list here, and here.

And now, if Matthews has his way, we must add inexperience to the list. Did he have this same concern for lack of experience for the candidate that gave him a thrill up his leg?


GOP Naiveté

During an interview with Dennis Prager on 23 Nov 2011, Sen. Jon Kyl – who was described in a Dana Milbank column as "cold and ruthless", "destructive", "walking napalm" and a tool of Grover Norquist – seemed naïve and unaware.

While discussing the committee, Kyl was asked if he thought the committee was doomed from the outset. He responded:

In retrospect it might have been. We didn't look at it that way in the beginning. But as I look back on it the two sides approached this with totally different goals in mind. We thought that this was the second half of the ballgame – you know, the debt ceiling extension of 2.4 trillion was predicated on saving that much money. And so, we passed the budget deal in August that saved just about a trillion, not quite. And then the other trillion and a half was supposed to come from the supercommittee, and we thought, on the mandatory side of the budget where 2/3 of the spending is – and that's the out of control spending, the unsustainable spending on Medicare, Medicaid, the food stamps, ag subsidies, all those so-called mandatory programs. So we thought this was an opportunity to get a handle on those. The Democrats approached it totally differently.
I thought we would succeed. I knew it would be very hard.

Our view of this was to try to reform the mandatory side of the budget and reduce the spending there. From the very beginning the Democrats had a different view. Their view was this is the place to raise a trillion – usually about 1.3 trillion, sometimes they said 1.2 trillion in new taxes. And so the two parties started from very different goals and I didn't realize that that's what they were going to try to do. And I don't know if they realized that we would try to push the mandatory spending reductions, but in any event, that gap made it very difficult. When the two sides don’t agree on the goal to begin with it's hard to reach consensus.
How is it that Kyl has a view of Democrats that only a person who has lived in a cave or is hopelessly naïve could have? As Ann Coulter recently reminded us in her column on how the GOP was hoodwinked during Reagan and Bush the elder, "As long as no one knows the history of these "deals," the media can carry on, blithely portraying Republicans as obstructionist nuts for refusing the third kick of a mule."

It is clear what the Dems are up to. This is not to say that what the left is up to is evil. John Edwards was right when he said there are two Americas. The left and right have irreconcilable differences. It is not that they have similar goals but different ways to get there. They have different goals.

But how is it that a key member of the GOP is unable to see or understand the conflict of visions that is so vital to understanding the path forward for our country? How could he have missed over the last three years of the Obama presidency that the left are Keynesians through and through? Is this irrepressible optimism or naiveté on stilts?

Paul Krugman understands what is going on. In his 17 Nov 2011 article he stated:

Why was the supercommittee doomed to fail? Mainly because the gulf between our two major political parties is so wide. Republicans and Democrats don’t just have different priorities; they live in different intellectual and moral universes.
So the supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work?
But don’t we eventually have to match spending and revenue? Yes, we do. But the decision about how to do that isn’t about accounting. It’s about fundamental values — and it’s a decision that should be made by voters, not by some committee that allegedly transcends the partisan divide.
About this Krugman is right. There is a battle between competing visions in America today. And Krugman is clear about his vision.

Raising taxes increases revenue, and cutting spending while the economy is still depressed reduces employment.
Slashing spending while the economy is depressed destroys jobs, and it’s probably even counterproductive in terms of deficit reduction, since it leads to lower revenue both now and in the future.
He is against spending reductions. Only Keynesian spending splurges will do. All Kyl had to do was open the New York Times to discover what the left is thinking and how they were going to behave in the supercommittee.

Furthermore, Krugman is able to recollect GOP welshing on deals:

For one thing, history tells us that the Republican Party would renege on its side of any deal as soon as it got the chance. Remember, the U.S. fiscal outlook was pretty good in 2000, but, as soon as Republicans gained control of the White House, they squandered the surplus on tax cuts and unfunded wars.
Apparently the GOP had made promises to not allow terrorist attacks and subsequent military endeavors in exchange for something unnamed. This bogus recollection, in contradistinction to the real Democratic promises to reduce spending that never materialized, is used by Krugman to warn against making any deals with Republicans. Who's the do nothing party now?

Republicans are often dismissed as RINOs or Democrat Light because of a softening of their views and actions once in office. Sen. Kyl seems to have conservative bona fides, so if he does not prevail against liberal ideas, it apparently is not because he is a RINO. But his comments to Prager reveal a soft Pollyanna underbelly and/or naiveté that is anything but cold and ruthless and may produce similar results as a RINO. If he is unaware of the positions, values and vision of his intellectual opponents, whether RINO or orthodox conservative, he will lose to their ideologically driven agenda.


Affirmative Action Obama

In this article by Matt Patterson, he looks at President Obama's unimpressive resume.  Patterson quotes Norman Podhoretz:

To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.

Patterson then notes, "Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass -- held to a lower standard -- because of the color of his skin. Podhoretz continues:"

And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?



There is a lot of concern about sending jobs overseas. And not keeping manufacturing jobs here at home.

Why is oil production not considered manufacturing that could keep jobs here in the US? Canada seems to keep a lot of people empoloyed manufacturing petroleum products. Couldn't we bring those jobs home?


Notable Quotable

The left lives like the Tea Party people, but they preach like the Occupy Wall Street people. 
~Dennis Prager


Cain, Infidelity and the Right

It has been pretty difficult to get the slumbering media masses to do in-depth reporting on sexual indiscretions of Democrats such as President Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Barney Frank, Alcee Hastings, John Edwards and others. Digging up licentiousness on liberals can be tough. A guy pretty much has to sext nude photos of himself before the media will take notice. But even then it takes a bit of coaxing.

And maybe the women who target Democrats are gold diggers and don't deserve to have their stories heard. Maybe this is what you get when you "drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park." (Why the leaders of the party of compassion and nuance are dragging hundred-dollar bills through trailer parks is another question for another day.)

Although, when you have allegations against a Republican, you need to run with the story - no matter how vague it is. Even if you don't feel you are on firm ground. As James Taranto noted:
Anonymous sources told Politico that unnamed women alleged that Cain said unspecified things and made unspecified gestures to them sometime before the turn of the century. The only available fact is that the complaints led to a legal settlement, which included a confidentiality agreement, so its details are unknown.
Of course the media is biased. Only unquestioning zealots and manipulators feign shock at the idea. But, the media would not make a big deal out of these allegations if there wasn't an audience. And the audience they are playing to is the religious right.

When those on the right ask questions like "If a man cannot keep his marital vow, then how can we be sure he'll keep his oath of office?", the left leaning media knows it has lethiferous gold in a story like Cain's.

The question posed above presumes that infidelity is indicative of governing. It is a silly notion, but many on the right believe that dalliance is the litmus test that precludes any good or decent governing. The trouble is, reality just doesn't comport with this test.

It would be hard to argue that all the good that was done by Martin Luther King, Jr. should be dismissed because he had extramarital affairs. To dismiss all of his goodness because he was - shock of all shocks - human, is stupid. As noted at thegrio:
A great man is not defined by his weaknesses, but by his strengths. Regardless of what Dr. King may have done during the course of his marriage, those actions are almost completely disconnected from the manner through which he inspired billions with his courage and led people of color to the life we share today. It is our fault, not his, that Dr. King has been placed on a pedestal so high that we've forgotten that he was human.
(Of course, this is a generalized statement and there are "weaknesses" that are so significant as to overwhelm any "strengths" a person may have. A man who kidnaps, rapes and kills a 9 year-old girl and buries neighbors alive can spend as much time as he wishes at the soup kitchen. His actions are so reprehensible that they cannot be undone by random acts of kindness. These are all matters of degree. A serial philanderer is quite different than a person who is flirtatious or who had a one night stand.)

Clearly, philandering did not affect MLK's moral compass on matters of racism. Can we be happy that in spite of his own humanity he lifted the rest of mankind on his shoulders and carried them to a better place?

Similarly, did Rudy Giuliani handle the tragedy of 9/11 expertly in spite of his wolfishness? Should Jews have refused Oskar Schindler's help because he moonlighted?

The idea is preposterous and those on the right do a disservice by using this as a litmus test. All adultery tells us is that these men were sinners and far from perfect. However, they did some pretty good things in spite of their fallen nature. Even God allowed King David to continue after his Bathsheba episode where he even went so far as to send her husband off to war to be killed.

It fails in the other direction as well. By all accounts, President Carter was a sterling husband. However, his leadership and policy decisions were about as far removed from the religious right's values as one can imagine. And his post-Presidential behavior has been boorish at best and borders on racist.

And where does this stop? Should a candidate be eliminated because he didn't honor the Sabbath or his mother and father? How about coveting the neighbor's house? If a Jew should eat bacon, does that render him an economic imbecile and therefore unfit to be President? Clearly smoking marijuana no longer precludes presidential aspirations. (Again, a matter of degree. A nightly doobie roast is rightly judged differently than a college foray. And whether marijuana is a gateway drug or not, it is not heroine or meth. Nobody worries whether their airline pilot smoked pot in college. Irresponsible behavior in the past does not necessarily prevent critical thinking, decision making or responsible behavior when one is older.)

The religious right needs to realize that they are not voting for pastor, rabbi, monk, priest or pope. They should be voting for a man or woman to govern the nation in accordance with its Constitution, certain values and with a particular economic vision.

Of course we all expect decent and honorable behavior and nobody is asking to throw out all expectations. But there is no reason to demand that a presidential candidate be as pure as the wind driven snow. Many good and decent people have stumbled or engaged in youthful or imprudent pursuits. And this moral myopia will only prevent many good people from seeking the nation's highest office and will result in a far worse nation for all.


FOIA Feint

One of the most disappointing attributes of the Obama administration has been its proclivity for secrecy.
This was how the LA Times described the Obama administration. They continued:
The president who committed himself to "an unprecedented level of openness in government" has followed the example of his predecessor by invoking the "state secrets" privilege to derail litigation about government misdeeds in the war on terror. He has refused to release the administration's secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which two senators have described as alarming. He has blocked the dissemination of photographs documenting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. service members.
The double standard of the left should be clear to all. Where is WikiLeaks now? Where are the howls of outrage? The protests? The OWS crowd could move to 1600 Pensylvania Avenue. They could retain their acronym but they need a slight adjustment in the focus of their protest: Obama Withholds Secrets.

Given the collateral damage that has occurred with all of the drone strikes and the administration's desire to, as the LA Times put it, provide "a license for the government to lie to its own people," couldn't it truly be said if this rule is implemented that Obama lied, people died?
Obama should reread his pronouncements about transparent government.
He might be shocked by what he reads.


Right is evil

It is not that the left has such great ideas. It is that the right is evil.

The left are nicer, kinder people than those on the right. Or so you would think if you listened to the likes of Karen Finney go on about the Right's love of Herman Cain:
And I think they like him because they think he's a black man who knows his place. I know that's harsh but that's how it sure seems to me.
What exactly is that place? Conservatives want to put him in the White House. They are so racist they want to put a black man in charge of the country.

Where was all this absolution talk when the left was voting for Obama? It was out there but was dismissed as poppycock.

The left must maintain the myth of racism on the right. It is a despicable charge that should only be leveled seriously and carefully. And to throw it around loosely as a lazy argument against those you disagree with only cheapens the word. Just as redefining rape to sex a woman wishes she hadn't had cheapens the term rape, shouting racism when what one really means is "I disagree with your policy" cheapens the term and drains it of all meaning.

But grievance and victimization are necessary for the success of the left. Without it, there is little remaining to sell. On the day that blacks, women, minorities, union members, teachers and trial attorneys wake up and say "Gosh. America is a pretty decent place. Yes, there are some ugly people on both sides of the aisle, but by and large America is a place where you can get ahead and speak your mind and is filled with good people - no matter what their political persuasion.", these fear-mongering Democrats will no longer be elected to office.

It is not that there is a conspiracy or a list of talking points that those on the left follow, but the ideology demands that the right be demonized and be shown to be less than human. It is important to dismiss those on the right as stupid, ignorant, mean spirited, war-mongering, selfish, greedy, hateful, nativist, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, bigoted, intolerant, fascist, misogynistic and hypocritical. There are probably a few more, but that's a good primer.

To be fair, there are those on the right who employ such tactics, although they seem to be more centered on religious violations, or "sinful" behavior. But how is the list above any different from a list of dismissives from the right? Isn't this a list of sins? Moral defects? Breaches of character? Isn't the left seeking to affix a scarlet letter to those on the right?

And another key distinction is that these dismissives are leveled by high-ranking leaders of the left and not just the rank and file. It is quite difficult to see this level of name-calling by Representatives, Senators, Presidents, heads of major political organizations and the like on the right. It is worth noting that opinion writers and commentators often use hyperbole for effect, but some of the stuff that comes out of the mouths of leftist humorists is awful. One struggles to find comedians on the right that are hoping for rape and hate f**king of those on the left.

The left is heavily invested in the righty-is-a-racist meme. The constant drumbeat is if the policy isn't endorsed by the Democratic Party, its racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. However, a compelling argument can be made that the left harbors ill-will for the groups they profess to support. For example, a man can be accused of sexual harassment and can suffer ramifications for telling an off color joke. Would it be appropriate for a man to pursue damages or punitive measures at work if a woman wore clothing that was distracting (in his estimation)? If you answer no, then you must answer why a woman can accuse a man of inappropriate behavior in the workplace if she is made uncomfortable, has her feelings hurt or is offended. If you believe it is appropriate for a woman and not for a man, all other things being equal, then you are sexist because you have lower standards for women than for men; you have higher expectations for men than women. How is it that the left is excused of these sorts of hidden sins?

The demonization platform is paired with hatred of the rich and government handouts. If the left treated the right as fellow sojourners who, while decent, hold different views, stopped the hate speech of class warfare and were not able to promise goodies to everybody who voted for them, what would be left in their platform? Egalitarianism?

The demonization of the right is prolific in the left's speech. Some examples include:
  • Andre Carson saying that fellow Congress members would like to see blacks hanging from trees.
  • Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, saying "Our moral values, in contradistinction to the Republicans', is we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night."
  • Alan Grayson manipulating a video clip to make it appear that Republican Daniel Webster was commanding wives to submit to their husbands (even Mother Jones posted a list of "outrageous" comments from Grayson. He was a one-man smear campaign.)
  • the former NAACP chairman Julian Bond's comments about Attorney General John Ashcroft, saying "He knows something about the Taliban, coming from, as he does, from that wing of American politics." And while speaking at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina saying that "The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side."
  • Patty Murray (Sen, D, WA) said "He's (Osama bin Laden) been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and these people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that." (Really? We haven't done this? And why isn't this an indictment of the left? Dems have been running the major cities for the last 50 years. If this is true, shouldn't this failure fall squarely at the feet of Democrats?)
  • Krugman, Olbermann as well as others blaming the right for the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords
  • left leaning comedians (kudos to NOW for speaking out against it) and commentators suggesting that Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and other conservative women be hate f**ked;
  • Sandra Burnhard pining for a time when Sarah Palin is "gang-raped by my hip black brothers." (Secondarily, why isn't this racist? When Obama asks members of the CBC to remove their slippers to help out, his comments are - lazily and inappropriately - questioned as racist, but suggesting that blacks might be culturally or morally ready to perform such a despicable act of cruelty and horror isn't? Her expectations of the black man are so low as to think he might consider such an act? Does she think more highly of white men that she didn't suggest that they might want to partake?)
  • Jimmy Hoffa calling Tea Partiers "son of a bitches".
  • President Carter cites "racism inclination" as the reason for opposition to Obama. Couldn't just be that they have different visions of the role of government.
  • President Obama (and a large portion of the Democratic left) using the teabagger slur while describing Tea Partiers: "Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care?"
  • Jimmy Fallon band playing "Lyin' Ass Bitch" as the walkon song for Michelle Bachmann.
  • Chris Matthews commenting that Republicans are "consumed by hate".
  • CBS using a Bart Stupak phone message as an example of the threats against Democrats during the Tea Party protests of ObamaCare that said, "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." but not revealing the threatening phone message was left by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare.
  • Frank Rich comparing Tea Party protestations to Kristallnacht.