Friday, January 14, 2011

Paul Krugman gets it half right. (Unusual for him, I know.)

Paul Krugman holding his pussycat named Hypocrisy.

In the New York Times today, Paul Krugman writes of "A Tale of Two Moralities."

He begins:

On Wednesday, President Obama called on Americans to “expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” Those were beautiful words; they spoke to our desire for reconciliation.

But the truth is that we are a deeply divided nation and are likely to remain one for a long time. By all means, let’s listen to each other more carefully; but what we’ll discover, I fear, is how far apart we are. For the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it’s about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice. . .

Or, put another way, belief in the collective versus belief in the individual.

What are the differences I’m talking about?

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.

There’s no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.

He's close, but not quite there. It is not merely about spending our money the way we choose so much as preserving our liberty against unconstitutional Federal diktat. The Obamacare law forces us to buy something we do not wish. With its enforcement, we truly become slaves to Federal power.

Krugman continues:

This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.

"Vandalism." Hmmm.

But that was then. Today’s G.O.P. sees much of what the modern federal government does as illegitimate; today’s Democratic Party does not. When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. . .

Right now, each side in that debate passionately believes that the other side is wrong. And it’s all right for them to say that. What’s not acceptable is the kind of violence and eliminationist rhetoric encouraging violence that has become all too common these past two years.

It’s not enough to appeal to the better angels of our nature. We need to have leaders of both parties — or Mr. Obama alone if necessary — declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds. We all want reconciliation, but the road to that goal begins with an agreement that our differences will be settled by the rule of law.

First of all, Krugman needs to understand that the G.O.P. is the least of his worries. Just as the constitutional militia movement grew out of G.O.P. failure to protect the people from a militarized federal police, the Tea Parties grew out of G.O.P. failures to restrain Krugman's collectivists over the past two years and of their hypocrisies growing bigger government during the Bush years.

Secondly, when he says that the country needs to "declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds," he is only objecting to the threat of counter-violence to defend ourselves against the Federal Leviathan. Excuse me, Paul, but Nancy Pelosi and her ilk (cheered on by you and your kind) first plunked the threat of violence down on the table when the "health care" bill mandated our participation. As I wrote in my call to break Democrat party windows:

Nancy Pelosi's Intolerable Act is within days of passage by devious means so corrupt and twisted that even members of her own party recoil in disgust.

This act will order all of us to play or pay, and if we do not wish to, we will be fined.

If we refuse to pay the fine out of principle, we will be jailed.

If we resist arrest, we will be killed.

They will send the Internal Revenue Service and other federal police to do this in thousands of small Wacos, if that is what it takes to force us to submit.

This arrogant elite pretends that this oppression is for our own good, while everyone else understands that this is about their selfish, insatiable appetite for control over our liberty, our money, our property and our lives.

What Krugman objects to is our conclusion that two can play that game.

But let us not have any finger-pointing or tongue wagging about "threats of violence." Their side brought the threat of government violence to the table first. Now they want us to unilaterally disarm?

(Expletive deleted.)



Dedicated_Dad said...

I must object to any inference that our "political divide" is about policy, or any other matter of opinion.

This is a dangerous falsehood that cannot be allowed to stand - not least because it grants The Enemy a legitimacy he does not in any way deserve.

We have a Constitution - which constitutes our national Contract. All adult citizens agree to this contract when they stay in our nation beyond their 18th birthday.

All politicians - more importantly - swore a solemn oath to uphold and defend this sacred document.

Currently, I'd wager that over 90% of the activities of our Federal .gov are in plain violation of that contract.

Further, 100% of "the progressive agenda" is in direct opposition to its plain text and easily understood meaning.

If you don't like it, AMEND IT. It's been done 27 times to date and can be done again - but IGNORING it is not an option and should never have been tolerated.

UNLESS you are talking about a proposed Constitutional Amendment, **NONE** of the things you collectivists would like to see our do are legitimate. NONE of them.

Further, our Constitution -- our National Contract -- contains a penalty clause for those who would subvert it. The offense is known as "TREASON" - and its penalty is death.

Our Founders feared - and made plain their concerns over - the very ("interstate commerce/general welfare") verbiage you thugs use as an attempt to justify your treason -- a fact which can be easily determined through a reading of their written and spoken/transcribed words which are readily available to anyone with the equipment and services necessary to read this sentence.

Traitors are - by definition - The Enemy of our Republic and its faithful Citizens.

We do not need more collaboration or more appeasement -- which your ilk falsely labels "civility."

What we need are more brave souls with the intellectual honesty and temerity to join me in calling you what you are: The Enemy. The Enemy of our Republic, of our way of life, of our children's future, and pretty much everything else we hold dear.

If you want civility, and rational dialog, then stop your subversion.

We'd be happy to debate the merits of any Constitutional amendment you'd care to propose, but we will not accept further abrogation of our Liberties, nor further erosion of the rule of law in our Republic by passage of unlawful and unconstitutional edicts.



Defender said...

Excellent, DD.

My old dentist used to have a sign on the wall facing the patient in the chair. "Be reasonable -- do it my way."
It turned out he was molesting female patients while they were under anesthesia.
Reminds me of Krugman.
"The last two years." He's trying to make it sound like a black president is the issue with us. Of course.
Funny how we LIKE Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Alan Keyes and other black constitutionalists...

Anonymous said...

I like his extremely even handed treatment of "both" sides of the divide! *wretch*

If you notice, Obama can apparently do it alone. Like a dictator functioning off a cult of personality. Not like that would ever happ-...OOPS.

Anonymous said...

As it says in the Bible, "A kingdom divided cannot stand."

Anonymous said...

Well, a broken clock is right twice a day.

All I find Krugster good for anymore is a laugh. He's a pundit playing an economist. Sadly too many take him seriously, all because he has a nobel prize.

Good blog covering his ramblings:

Anonymous said...

Quoth rabbi Krugman,
The loyal American must "declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds," when protesting our enslavement.

Uh huh.

So that means he and the New Royalty he flaks will forgo their own armed, explosive violence that goes variously under the names of SWAT, HRT, ATF, FDA, Yokel Local...

all of which have overwhelming power and "shoot first, lie later" as their SOP.

He's a damned fool that, for all AJC and ADL propaganda to the contrary, has never had to worry about midnight knocks, "driving while black", or having his bank accounts frozen over a dispute about how much tribute should be rendered to The State.

Jeff said...

"Regular readers know which side of that divide I’m on. In future columns I will no doubt spend a lot of time pointing out the hypocrisy and logical fallacies of the “I earned it and I have the right to keep it” crowd. And I’ll also have a lot to say about how far we really are from being a society of equal opportunity, in which success depends solely on one’s own efforts."

Huh? So that means he supports theft?...or is that Marxism?

I noticed he's got a cat - wondering which one is the real pussy.

Charlie said...

This post (Krugman's column plus your commentary) is the best encapsulation of modern American politics that I've seen in a while. Excellent work, Mike.

Kent McManigal said...

In the part about the health care mess, he says a "wealthy nation" should provide health care welfare to everyone. But the US isn't wealthy; it is broke and in deep debt. The only money around is counterfeited by the federal reserve. Individuals might be wealthy, but government has no claim on their wealth.

And I did not sign anything when I turned 18 and I NEVER agreed to any constitution or any other contract. If I didn't sign it, it isn't binding on me. Plus, if one side (the federal government) broke the contract long before I was born, that issue was settled for me. I am not obligated to move away from my friends, family, property, or anything else just because a criminal gang would claim that I and my property are really owned by them and I exist at their pleasure. What a collectivist pile of crap.

aughtsix said...

Wonderful piece of work, Mike. You use the opportunity Krugnutz gave you to unerringly expose his and the left's several false premises. Dedicated Dad provides another brilliant riposte in support.

Krugman is clever and quite eloquent. I often wonder with these types... do they really believe what they write? Are they as impressed by their own bullshit as they wish their readers to be? Or is it all just cynical propaganda in service to the cause of tyranny?

No matter... He's on the list.


(word verification: notaxace. Amazing.)

Anonymous said...

"[T]he modern welfare state...[is] morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal."

Krugman seems to suggest that prior to 1933, the economy was a sort Hobbesian jungle, an argument that flies in the face of much evidence to the contrary.

"Economic progressivism" (which could also be called proto-fascism) had made serious inroads into laissez-faire capitalism by the late 19th century as evidenced by these legislative acts:
Interstate Commerce Act 1887
Sherman Antitrust Act 1890
Federal Reserve Act 1913
Clayton Antitrust Act 1914

FDR merely accelerated a trend that was begun by Theodore Roosevelt and greatly reinforced by Woodrow Wilson.

Krugman is right about one thing, though: "There’s no middle ground between these views."

True, there can be no agreement between slavery and liberty. Either the welfare state or the private property order must die.


Anonymous said...

"[I]f one side (the federal government) broke the contract long before I was born, that issue was settled for me. I am not obligated to move away..."

I am thinking along similar lines. The covenant breakers should be deported so that we honest men can enjoy our property rights in peace.



Defender said...

Tucson victim Eric Fuller makes death threat to Tea Party member at Town Hall meeting, is arrested.
Please don't let this be a stupid parody. KGUN? Really?

Jimmy the Saint said...

Krugman has a lot of money and possessions, I have less. Somehow, I doubt he'd maintain his socialist outlook were I to show up and, couched in terms of a pistol to his head, demand that he share the wealth.

Defender said...

Elected officials know less about the Constitution than the averaage guy on the street.
I bet journalists rank right down there with them. I've seen it. A political COLUMNIST could not summon a single phrase from the Declaration of Independence.

Defender said...

On trial for yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater that is, in fact, burning. And it was arson.
To a lesser extent, we are them.

I see the Obamacare mandate fine doesn't start until 2014. I think a lot of people probably don't need to worry about it, then.
There's a "religious" exemption. Muslims don't believe in moneylending for profit or conventional insurance, I've read.
Also one for "hardship."
So no honest person needs to be concerned either. We'll all be hardship cases.
I feel better.

Defender said...

As lawmakers return to Congress shaken by the shooting of a colleague, Republican support for healthcare reform repeal is at its lowest ebb ever.
Yeah, pass it for Gabby Giffords. Her legacy.

Defender said...

This is very confusingly written, but it sounds like if someone makes a Freedom of Information Act request to the federal government, the request is forwarded to Janet Napolitano's office so it can gather information on THEM.
The Republicans are looking into it, and other abuses of the Obama administration, supposedly. Makes for good PR anyway, right, Eric "PATRIOT Act" Cantor?

Defender said...

Vandalism? Political divide?

Encouraging Muslim women IN AUSTRALIA to decide not to wear the burqa is "racism," according to the TV news. Vandalizing his property and hitting people is "an anti-racism demonstration."
They equate "Say No to the Burqa" with "Ban the Burqa."
The former implies choice. No wonder they don't like it.

Defender said...

Socialized medicine alert.

"NHS [Britain's National Health Service] ban on operations to save money is dangerous, warns president of Royal College of Surgeons. The NHS is gambling with patients' health by increasingly banning operations for hernias, cataracts and arthritic joints to save money... "More and more NHS trusts are introducing more and more of this sort of backdoor rationing by imposing longer and longer waiting times for surgery on patients, or indeed stopping doing certain procedures altogether." --The Guardian newspaper.

Anonymous said...