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The feminist message I responded (favorably) to was independence. Women are perfectly capable of managing their own affairs without being dependent on men, and should (or must) assert independence because of the costs. In the end, the one who pays the piper calls the tune, and feminists regard the quid pro quo for relying on men with horror.

Now we have Julia. Ann Althouse links to a Washington Post op-ed that asserts

“Julia” was the Democratic Party’s “attempt to make singlehood cool and fresh and new…”“… in an attempt to court [the single woman] demographic.”

What I want to know is: Why the Hell doesn’t that generate outrage? “Julia” is totally dependent; she does not (cannot?) make a single move in her life that doesn’t depend on Government support. It’s a direct, in-your-face contradiction of the ideal of independence from women.

At least some of the associated commentary assumes, without explicitly stating it, that being dependent on Government is superior to being dependent on “the Patriarchy” because Government won’t demand anything in return. The “story of Julia” directly contradicts even that, at least on one point — “Julia” runs her own business for several years, at least, but doesn’t make enough out of it for a comfortable retirement; she then has to depend on Social Security in her Golden Years. All the small business owners I know, a considerable number, make an explicit point of doing their damnedest to sock away enough that when they retire they don’t have to live on beans and cornbread. Where did Julia’s profits from her business go? Did Government take them all away, leaving her with nothing of her own to live on? It would seem so. Was that a good trade, worthy of her sacrificing her independence in order to batten off others including other Julias?

Stacy McCain rips most entertainingly into Amanda Marcotte over her anti-endorsement of Santorum. There’s no doubt whatever that Our Amynda is a piece of work with a number of fairly frantic bees in her bonnet, but it’s worth asking how she got that way. Rightists often ask, with visible wonder, how people like Marcotte and Margaret Atwood come up with their extreme and often hysterical views of the Right, and I consider myself a Rightist (of sorts) but totally understand where they’re coming from.

There is a vast chasm of a gap between opposed to abortion and wanting a Law against abortion. The first is both moral and practical. Moral issues are canvassed elsewhere much better than I can manage, but the practical remains stark: You are gonna die someday. The future belongs to those who show up for it, and if you don’t have children you have no future. The second — aaah. The second is what generates Marcottes.

Postulate a Law against abortion. What would have to be done? Well, would the simple existence of a Law stop babies being killed? Of course not. The Law would have to be enforced. There would still be doctors, nurse practitioners, med students, a host of other medical practitioners, and a good-sized number of wannabees providing the service on the sly, and you have to have a way to detect them and put them out of business. The information about how to do it is public on the Internet and elsewhere, and you have to find a way to suppress that. It’s perfectly possible, although damned dangerous, for a woman to do it to herself, perhaps with a sympathetic friend to help, and a method must be found to keep that from happening.

Parsing the Whys and Wherefores, we circle around and come to a conclusion: the only way to stop abortion using a Law is to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, charged with finding out whether any woman is pregnant and preventing her from getting an abortion. Any lesser means will still allow leakers, and experience tells us that any system that allows leaks will eventually allow a flood. Behind all of Marcotte’s sneers and vulgarisms, it is that police force that she opposes; The Handmaid’s Tale describes one alternate version of such a police force, and not the worst version possible by any means. Atwood, too, is opposed to the establishment of such a force — and so am I.

If you want to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, I am your opponent — and I don’t give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn what you want it for. It’s a source of power, and by Rule #3 becomes an attractant for power-seekers who, once ensconced in it, will seek to expand its power without limit regardless of its original function or the reasons for establishing it. Nor do I give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn about your bitching about, e.g., the EPA, which is a marvelous example of a police force seized by extremists and power-seekers who use it for ends its founders never intended. In all the history of the World, there has never, ever, ever been a case in which such a police force didn’t get seized by extremists and power-seekers, and if you want to set up Yet Another Example of a proto-Gestapo (which is what all such are, your excuses about Saving the Children being totally irrelevant), I’m agin it.

I vote for, and generally support, the Right over the Left, and I consider Amanda Marcotte and her ilk to be generally wrong and distastefully nasty in expressing themselves, but I also see, at least in many cases, where the fears that led to their nastiness originate — and they are often, as in this instance, perfectly logical and rational. I don’t like them worth a damn, but if push came to shove I’d be bound to join their camp over the underlying issues. The fact that they have issues requiring the establishment of massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police forces for their own ends just makes it into a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils, and as a general rule the Left at least tends to be honest about it, to the point of delighting in what their goon-gangs will do to opponents if allowed. It’s unattractive as all Hell, but the obliviousness displayed by many “socon” rightists is even more distasteful. If you’re going to rant that consequences be damned if you can save one child you make my trigger finger itch in exactly the same way the Leftists do, because the only difference between you and them is some technical terminology. I have to ally with you because the other causes you support are more in line with my thinking, but it doesn’t mean I despise you any less than I do any other supporter of intrusive meddlers with guns.

All of which is one of the main reasons Left and Right have gotten to be, and stay, neck-and-neck in politics. Independents, whose votes are crucial in any election, tend strongly to have (usually incoherent versions of) the same attitude — there are already plenty of goon squads euphemized as “police forces” out there, and establishing another one is not to be favored. The fact that socons tend to gloss over, or seem oblivious to, the difference between wanting some outcome and establishing a goon squad to achieve an outcome makes them equally, if not more, unattractive to people whose actual wish is to be left the f* alone. It was opposition to such measures that led to “smelly hippies” getting their hands on the levers of power in the first place, and that’s going to keep happening. Examine your Issue. If it means establishing a massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police force in order to accomplish it, I’ll vote for the Other Guy — and I know damned well I’m not alone in that.

“Capital” is the resources taken out of society to form the means of production.

If “Stomp Out Capital” means not doing that any more, it means no production because there are no means of production. “Production” is what most of us eat (and wear, and live in, and…) Before Europeans came to the American continent, the natives didn’t engage in capitalism and had no means of production. They also engaged in continuous violent conflict over resource allocation. Estimates I’ve seen put the number of them, at that time, at about a tenth of the number of people we have now, or fewer — which says the carrying capacity of the North American continent is about that, or less.

So taken literally, “stomping out capital” means killing nine out of ten of the people now alive. Guns and bulldozers are products, output from the means of production, and are themselves things that can be used for production or to facilitate it — capital. If capital is anathema, firing squads and mass graves are Right Out; the killing will have to be managed by attrition, a nice, neutral term for “starving ‘em or letting ‘em freeze”. My response to that is you first, m– f–s, and that’s the way it would probably work out, anyway. The Sioux had neither Professors of Gender Studies nor the resources to support such societal excrescences, and a society without capital will need warriors to dispute resource allocation, not academics free to pursue their courses of study.

But of course that isn’t what the “Occupy Movement” intends. What they really mean is that farms and factories and the other means of production should continue to exist, so that surplus resources continue to be available to feed the idle, most especially including their good (by definition) selves. They don’t want to “Stomp Out Capital” at all; they want to have it all under the aegis of a single organization — a monopoly.

That exposes the fatal flaw of all socialist-oriented notions: the assumption, maintained by rapid side-shuffles and handwaving, that there is a fundamental moral and existential difference between “Government” and all other forms of human organization. “The Government” == “The People”, or so they’ll tell you. That’s a hole aspiring Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Mellons can drive a truck through, and they do. Preventing the custodians of resources from dipping into them for their own benefit makes ordering back the tide look like a trivial exercise. Nancy Pelosi used The People’s resources to ferry her dog back and forth between San Francisco and Washington in a private jet, and there are plenty of examples of that kind of thing regardless of whether (R) or (D). Do you really suppose that, e.g., Jeff Immelt would have fewer perquisites and privileges as People’s Commissar for Electrical Equipment (North-East Region) than he does as President of General Electric? It is to bitterly chuckle.

What’s even more ironically amusing is that the Occupiers’ most vocal complaint is against the early stages of transferring custody of the means of production to Government control. The bureaucrats who will be taking over know nothing about the process, so they will have to be taught; the obvious way to do that is to co-opt the existing management into Government to facilitate the transition — “crony capitalism”. A pseudo-Marxist Government is neither more nor less than crony capitalism taken to the utmost degree. Marx himself was aware of that, which is why he did so much handwaving about “the Proletariat” as distinct from “Government”. However, he never defined a mechanism whereby the Proletariat could manage the means of production — and there isn’t one. Enterprises require day-to-day hands-on management that cannot be done by committee, let alone a Committee of the Whole People. That means the Proletariat must appoint deputies to do that for them, and such deputies constitute a Government, by definition. The obvious candidates for the posts of deputies to manage the means of production are the ones who are doing it now — “crony capitalism”.

So what does OWS want? Mass murder, or monopoly as an extension of crony capitalism? The answer is “both”, depending on which OWSer you ask.

The mass of the movement is composed of people who haven’t thought the matter through. Such people see what they consider to be injustice (correctly, in many cases), and want to eliminate the structures that support it — but they don’t know or don’t care what the unintended consequences will be. They’ll be wailing in despair that that’s not what they meant, right up to the moment the firing squad puts bullets in their temples.

The leadership, as with all pseudo-Marxist or “socialist” movements, is either as oblivious as their followers or aware and doesn’t give a damn, and it doesn’t matter. Their goal is to be In Charge, largely because of the egotistical notion that they could do much better than the existing managers, but in many cases because they want the privileges of being Boss (hello, Mr. Obama). Ignore their speeches. They don’t want to destroy the System, they want to control it, and the ones who want power for themselves have the advantages of stronger motivation and a better handle on the process than the naifs who think they can Eliminate Injustice by getting their hands on the levers. If the process is allowed to proceed, sooner or later a truly determined individual will emerge to take absolute control. Since such a person will have to be obdurate and unbending, I suggest that we call him “Steel”.

 

Carbon is irrelevant. If you tune in to some part of the “debate”, and the participants are going on about Eevill CO2 and Saving the Planet, turn it off and go elsewhere. It simply means all of those people are liars and/or too ignorant to pound sand.

If the pipeline is not built, another will be, from the tar sands deposits to the Canadian West Coast, completely outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Government (much to the frustration of the IRS and the other TLAs). It will be cheaper than Keystone-XL; not only will it be shorter, it will be cheaper per linear measure because it will be built under Canadian regulations, which focus on (gasp! choke!) pipeline safety, rather than maximizing saliva generation when kissing environmentalist ass. The oil will be pumped to Vancouver, where it will be loaded on tankers and taken (mostly) to China, where it will be burned to provide power to industry.

The oil will be produced, whether Keystone-XL is built or not.

The oil will be burned, whether Keystone-XL is built or not.

The carbon will enter the atmosphere, whether Keystone-XL is built or not.

So in this particular case, both “anthropogenic global warming” and environmental degradation at the production zone are irrelevant. The carbon dioxide is gonna get into the atmosphere, and the tar sands deposits are gonna get mined, whether Keystone-XL is built or blocked. There are some (minor) issues regarding environmental impact of the pipeline, and those might be worth debate, but Saving the Earth is not an issue in this context, and anybody who starts bloviating, passionately or otherwise, about Global Warming and CO2 emissions is too stupidly self-centered to realize what’s going on and/or deliberately trying to confuse the issue. Shut ‘em out.

…who can see lightning and hear thunder. Remarkable.

…the starkest fact for socialists: namely, that there is today no political organization – or coalition or network – remotely close to being able to command a majority for anything like socialism, under any meaning.

RTWT, and be sure to follow the last link in the essay. Geras is always worth your time, even when he’s blogging about soap (he even manages to make the cricket marginally interesting, at whiles). He is a person who knows his material, and isn’t bashful about saying so.

Commenter prochazka_the_insane suggests that

The biggest factor that positively reinforces this kind of economic idea is the visible success of corrupt politicians and crony capitalists.

I’m sorry, but no. That’s Populist dogma — the Fat Cats and Moneybags Are Robbing Us Blind! — and the difference between Populists and Progressives is like the difference between Communists and Fascists, viz., the people in the camps are too busy trying to keep breathing to care what the Commandant preaches. What prochazka calls “Magical Thinking” has its roots much farther back.

Humanity originated as small bands of hunter-gatherer-scavengers, and lived that way for at least hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. If there is anything at all to the idea of “innate behaviors” those behaviors were developed during that time, which is long enough for evolution to develop traits. The few piddly millenia since the invention of language, tools, agriculture, et. al. (in whatever order) are not nearly enough for the slow mechanisms of natural selection to get a grip on the subject. In particular, rational analysis has only been around for a few centuries, and compared to the time our ancestors spent ranging the countryside hunting for food, that isn’t even a rounding error.

Emotional reactions are, at root, changes in endocrine balance, physical changes in our body chemistry, and (at least for most of us) aren’t subject to rational control, but like any other physical quality are subject to natural selection. We (at least some of us) have been subjected to training and education in early childhood and later, which enables us to override our emotional reactions (at least sometimes), but even the most rational of us feels the emotions developed by eons of evolution. That evolution took place long before there were any of the features of modern life, and were fixed at that time.

Now, if you haven’t already, go back and read the previous post. You may find it unbelievable, but I do not. What you’re looking at there is the reason long-range weapons were developed, from bows and arrows to tranquilizer guns, and dollars to doughnuts three-fifths of the suggestions readers might come up with as ways to handle the situation involve modern tools, from knives to pistols to tying the animal to the bumper of the pickup and dragging it. Even those might not help. I’ve known more than one hunter who’s shot a deer, approached the limp body, and been hurt when the wounded animal found the resources to lash out.

What that story confirms is the suggestion, made some time ago, that the “hunter” part of the description of our ancestors is likely to be highly overstated in the interest of self-image. The (now) Educated Rancher had on sturdy clothes, had a rope, a squeeze chute, and a pickup truck, and could have availed himself of a knife, a gun, or even a club. Imagine the Mighty Hunter of 1,000,000 BC, naked or nearly so, equipped with (at most) a rock. How would he have fared in that situation? It is to laugh, at this safe distance. MH probably didn’t find it at all amusing.

That points to what can only be speculation, but is persuasive nonetheless: what the hunters hunted for was stashes. Plants bearing fruit, growths of grain, recently-born litters of animals still too weak to resist, nesting birds, streams with fish, and (bonanza!) the kills of predators that didn’t finish them off[1] had to be the goals of their search, and they would either bring their finds back to the tribe or lead the tribe to the food source, that they might eat and survive. This is not to say that they never made kills, but bearing in mind the relative strengths of humans and prey animals those had to be rare, at least until the relatively late time when weapons were invented.

The stashes existed or not, and the hunters found them or not. From the hunters’ point of view, stashes appeared more or less at random, not in any way subject to their control. There was nothing the hunter, or the whole tribe, could do to make the stashes. A hunter who did not bring the stash back home, or lead the tribe to it so they could feast, was a deep-dyed villain whose greed threatened the very survival of the tribe. Tribes whose hunters did that died out, so the desirable behavior — providing the stash to the tribe — was conserved by evolution, as was the emotional reaction that helped drive that behavior. Hunters who ate part of the stash before providing it to the others were more ambivalently villainous. Certainly they were depriving the tribe of nutrition, but on the other hand, the hunters had to be the strongest (and therefore the best fed) of the tribe in order to do their work. Emotional resentment of those who didn’t bring it all home therefore exists, but is muted.

The conditions that make up an agricultural society, or even more an industrial one, are intellectual constructs that totally violate our emotional reactions. Agriculture depends on protecting the crop from opportunists before it is harvested for the use of the agriculturalist, but to the tribe from over the hill, still living as hunter-gatherer-scavengers, the crop is a gigantic stash that, if exploited, would enable the whole group to gorge themselves. The crop’s defenders are, to the tribe, interlopers to be driven off or killed and resented, even hated, for interfering with the tribe’s access to food, no different from the hyenas they had to compete with to get the remnants of the lion’s kill. The farmer, on the other hand, has achieved a triumph of rationality. To him and his fellows the growing crop is still a stash, but if they wait ’til it’s ripe, harvest it, and save some for next year’s planting, they can eat well for an indefinite period of time. Gorging on the stash is still attractive emotionally, but time-binding rationality overcomes the emotional reaction.

Capital goods — the “means of production” that are the foundation of wealth in an industrial society — are even worse, “crops” taken to some large power. There before us is an immense stash whose guardians, who ought to be acting like good hunters and distributing it to Feed The Children, instead defend it with fervor that can only be attributed (by the emotionally-driven) to the same “greed” that caused primitive tribes to die out, and therefore fixed the emotional reaction to “greed” in the survivors. The idea that that stash enables production, which will enable many more people to eat than it will provide if consumed directly, is an intellectual construct that runs counter to our emotional reactions. Watching the “fatcats” consuming a portion of that production before distributing it adds to the resentment, in the same way that the hunter who consumed part of the stash before bringing it home was resented.

Is that the whole of the explanation? You are dealing here with the person who proposed Ric’s Rule #1 (“It ain’t that simple”). Of course not! But if you observe the behavior of leftoids, from Populists wailing against “banksters” and “corporate greed” to full-bore Marxists, it’s pretty damned plausible. They are reacting emotionally to the existence of stashes, which their “instincts” (that is, the emotional reactions developed by hunter-gatherer-scavenger tribes) say appear at random without human input, and should be shared to insure the tribe’s survival. The rest is elaboration and rationalization, rather than rational analysis. It isn’t “Magical Thinking”. It’s primitive emotionalism.

So the next time a leftoid brags about how intellectually superior he or she is, laugh in their faces. They have rejected a rational analysis of the situation, substituting a rationalization of what is, in fact and at the root of all the pseudo-intellectualism, primitive emotion. They aren’t Progressives, let alone promoting the Advance of History; they are Retrogressives, looking “forward” to wandering the plains with a rock in hand, hoping to find a lion-kill with few enough hyenas to run them off and feast. The only possible result of implementing that philosophy is destruction of the industrial civilization that supports us all, and the fact that they’re oblivious to that only makes it clear that they aren’t any sort of “intellectual”.


[1] Eeew? It is to chortle. With the conspicuous exception of birds and fish, which are small enough for a bare-handed human to overcome and rot very quickly, it is well-nigh universal even today that meat which has been “hung” or “aged” — that is, allowed to rot for a bit — is tastier than fresh. The more pretentious steak houses even do it in class cases at the front of the restaurant, so people can see what they’re getting. This is actually one of the stronger points of circumstantial evidence leading to the above hypothesis.

(Being an item from the “drafts” pile that never got finished and posted. It was topical at the time.)

Stacy McCain goes postal on the class warriors:

Contrary to all the class-warfare demagoguery pouring forth from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself), conservatives do not oppose tax increases because we are beholden to the rich. Rather, the question is whether wealth does more good when it is invested in the private sector, to create jobs and economic growth, or surrendered to the federal government as taxes to support the metastatic growth of a pestiferous bureaucracy.

There’s a problem with that. See the bolded part? Leftoids don’t believe a word of it — it’s practically the definition of a Leftist, most especially including Democrats.

Leftoids don’t believe in production. Wealth simply is — it exists out there somewhere, put there by forces beyond the ken of mortals. “The Rich” are people who have discovered some, purely by chance, and are fiendishly refusing to share with the rest of the tribe. One of the posters at Chicago Boyz first introduced me to the term “the seekrit stash”, the pile of wealth that’s out there somewhere, jealously guarded by its discoverers to keep it away from the People. Kurt Vonnegut called it the Money River, an endless supply of cash flowing freely through obscure faraway canyons, to which The Rich lead their offspring and a few selected friends that they may slurp.

Leftoids don’t even believe in production when they’re doing it. Spend any time at all with a UAW member, and it will finally dawn on you that he doesn’t seriously believe he’s making cars. He’s getting a paycheck, and all that nonsense with tools and bolts and hunks of metal that they have to do on the shop floor is just meaningless hoops the nasty, tightwad rich bastards in Teh Management make them negotiate before they’ll hand out the money. That’s also why they don’t, in general, give a damn whether or not they build good cars. “Building cars” is just an excuse used by Teh Rich to force Teh Workers into an awkward, demeaning, inferior position before coughing up the dough, and it ain’t faaaaair.

It follows that there’s no such thing as “the means of production”. The only reality a factory or farm has for leftoids is that it’s a huge pile of wealth which is guarded by people who make lame excuses for holding on to what rightfully belongs to Teh People, and which must be immediately seized and distributed to Teh Poor and Unfortunate (after modest deductions for the living expenses of those doing the seizing and distributing, natch.) They are then astonished — perplexed! — when (unexpectedly!) the products are no longer available and the jobs no longer exist, or when somebody elsewhere sets up production and wants to be paid for the output. What rotten luck! Whatever shall we Feed the Children?

“Populists” are little if any better. It’s just way unfaaaaair that the Greedy Corporations have the audacity to charge for their products and (gasp, choke, waaaaaah!) keep some of the money. Punish them! Tax ‘em ’til they scream! Take away their corporate jets! When you discover that attitude on what is supposedly “the Right”, you should immediately realize why it is that the leftoids are so (otherwise unaccountably) successful. It’s hard to win when you keep handing your head to the enemy.

Norm Geras considers the role of Government, beginning with a quote from a friend:

On Twitter yesterday, a friend put up a tweet carrying this quotation from Adam Smith:

“Civil government…is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor” [Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, bk 5, ch 1, pt 2]

It’s an idea that’s probably more familiar to many in its Marxist variants, amongst the best known of which is this one from the Communist Manifesto:

The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

He goes on to maintain that whatever the purpose(s) of Government, that’s at worst only one of them, and offers a list of things a Government should do. I could of course quibble with his list of priorities, but what’s amusing to me is that he doesn’t seem to see the inside-out applicability of those quotes to Socialist aspirations.

It was perhaps clearer in the days before modern agriculture, when a return of 10:1 on the seed planted was cause for rejoicing. One of the many threads that make up the origin of Government was the necessity for guarding the seed grain. Here is this enormous store of food — but if the group eats it, or Feeds the Children, there is no crop next year and everybody dies. A guard must be posted, lest shortsighted (and hungry) individuals get into the store and kill everyone whilst satisfying their hunger.

The guardians of the seed grain are “rich” — they control a lot of food. They are even authorized to dip into it for their own sustenance, especially during times of privation. Guards who are listless from lack of nutrition won’t be effective. There must, in the past, have been many groups who found that offensive and took steps to spread the wealth. They don’t appear in the modern record, because they died out before leaving any traces.

Capital is the modern, industrial-society equivalent of the seed grain. It is resources, wealth, taken from society and embodied in the means of production. Like the seed grain, it is there before the society, clearly visible, but cannot be consumed, because if it is consumed the means of production no longer exist, and their products cease to be available. Like the seed grain, it must be guarded against the shortsighted — and the custodians and guardians of capital are “rich”. This is true independently of the means by which the guardians and custodians are selected.

“The People” is an abstraction, incapable of any real action. As a practical matter, The People form a Government to act in their behalf. That Government must, of necessity, take on the responsibility of guarding capital against opportunists and the shortsighted. If capital is converted to consumption, the means of production cease to exist and the society can no longer support itself.

But the guardians and custodians of capital are “rich”. Even if they aren’t specifically authorized to do so, they will inevitably dip into it a bit for their own sustenance — and in fact they are so authorized. The Cadre, the Vanguard of the Proletariat, must of course support itself in order to do the Work of the People.

So however socialist its ideals may be, the Government thus formed is obliged by sheer necessity to defend “the rich” against “the poor”. Is it not delicious?

Instapundit reader Dave Ivers almost gets it:

“Having just had a discussion with a close friend on the Left, I truly believe that Obama and probably all of the Left think that 3.5% GDP growth year on year is some sort of natural phenomenon and that no matter what they do it will happen. They then proceeded to trash the things that make that 3.5% growth happen.”

It’s not a case of thinking that “3.5% GDP growth year on year is some sort of natural phenomenon”. It’s a case of thinking that nothing people can do affects the existence of wealth. It’s the worldview of the hunter-gatherer-scavenger tribe: food (wealth) exists Out There Somewhere and can be found, but nothing they can do will change what is available to a sufficiently alert and diligent searcher.

You can’t even call it “belief” as we generally use the word. Even the most rock-solid believer has his/her belief in the conscious or semiconscious support of his/her mind, and can be induced, de minimis, to assert that it exists. Nobody “believes” in gravity in that sense. Things fall down, and our every conscious moment is underlaid by that assumption. Belief, as such, requires thinking about it. We don’t think about gravity when we take a step, or lay an object on a table instead of simply releasing it.

Leftoids take production for granted in the same way. It happens out of sight and out of mind,  by processes and under the influence of forces that are not comprehended, not comprehensible, and in any case not affected by anything they do. They are therefore free to make whatever changes they care to make in the processes and forces that they can see and affect, because since nothing they do affects the existence of wealth, by definition if they can do it it doesn’t change anything important.

The hunter-gatherer-scavenger tribes of North America had a large hand in exterminating the woolly mammoth. They set up plunges where they could drive herds of animals over a cliff, kill the ones that were only injured, and feast on the abundance, because it didn’t matter — mammoths came from somewhere beyond their control, and nothing they did could affect that. Autoworkers are free to demand higher pay and play silly tricks on the production line, because the Company has money and nothing they can do on the shop floor affects that. Woolly mammoths reproduced slowly, so killing off whole herds of them reduced their population below replacement levels and increasingly desperate hunts for the few survivors finished them off; auto companies get money by selling cars, so making the product increasingly expensive and of lower quality eventually means consumers go elsewhere and the Company has no money.

It’s at least possible that a sufficient number of sufficiently diligent time travelers could convince the tribes of North America that their hunting techniques did, in fact, affect the supply of woolly mammoths and should be changed. I see no prospect of convincing modern leftoids that they’re shitting in their own messkits; so long as there are herds of “the rich” or even a few lonely survivors they’ll continue to hunt them down and feast. If they were the only ones affected I, personally, would be pleased to let them go about it and suffer the resulting famine. Unfortunately the rest of us are in it for the duration as well.

From Roll Call, via Reynolds:

Both chambers must vote on a Constitutional balanced budget amendment by the end of the year under the law, but they don’t have to be able to pass it. Udall’s amendment is unlikely to attract the two-thirds majority necessary to advance because of a provision that would outlaw tax cuts for people making more than $1 million a year unless the country has a budget surplus.

This perfectly encapsulates the sine qua non of the Democratic “base”. That is, everybody should have a good job at high wages –

BUT

Anybody who has the ability to pay high wages is a CRIMINAL who MUST BE PUNISHED by taking away that ability.

Does any of that seem the least bit off-kilter to you?

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