Quote of the Day

This echoes my own evolution. I started out highly skeptical about it, but I have come around to where I think of the tea party movement as the last best hope for America. If they fail to elect a Congress and a President who truly are committed to shrinking deficits and shrinking the government, then those of us with a libertarian bent will be reduced to dreaming about seasteads or somesuch.

--Arnold Kling

As a member of TSI, I don't know how exactly to take that, haha.

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Ha! I thought the same

Ha! I thought the same thing when I read that. Why do I need to wait for another crop of disappointing GOP politicians to start daydreaming about seasteads? I'm doing that already!

But if we advert national

But if we advert national bankruptcy and don't achieve national gay marriage, have we really gained anything? What if there are still people that don't believe in evolution walking around the streets of Kansas? What if children under the age of 18 aren't allowed to have abortions without their parents' permission? What a dystopia!

Pfft, whatever

Socially conservative policy isn't that big a deal in itself, but it correlates very strongly with people who wanted to deport all the illegals and think raping the Bill of Rights is OK if it saves us from the terrorists.

Sure, there is the occasional Ron Paul out there, but by-and-large social conservatism is an indicator of far more noxious beliefs that are a much larger threat to liberty than deficit spending.

Right, but the Tea Party isn't focusing on social issues

They're leaving that out of their goals.

And who else you got anyway? Paul Krugman?

And who else you got anyway?

And who else you got anyway? Paul Krugman?

Huh?

Are immigration and the wars

Are immigration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan social issues or economic issues?

Sure, now they are . . .

Here's the problem: The Tea Parties, to the extent they elect people "committed to shrinking deficits" will be voting for Republicans. Such people will almost invariably be social conservatives, and they in turn are usually militarists and nativists. So, this "last best hope for America" will actually be its last dying gasp. If the price of fiscal sanity is war, torture and blanket surveillance then why bother? Just let the house of cards fall rather than aiding monsters.

As for Krugman, I'm not a fan. I'm not by any means arguing that the Democrats are awesome and that one should leap for joy at any liberal success. But the more successful liberals are, the more they will successfully push their laudable views on civil liberties, foreign policy and social policy. OTOH, when the Republicans were winning every battle not too long ago, they didn't deliver on good economic policy but gave us a whole steaming pile of their bullshit.

We have a choice between a low tax, theocratic police state and a European welfare state. How is the former even being considered the better option? It's not even a close call for me.

That's a good way of putting

That's a good way of putting it. Would you rather live in Finland or Singapore? I choose Finland, if only for the metal and the lack of caning.

You spent a lot of time in

You spent a lot of time in both? Say, a year, working there? Otherwise, the informational content of your choice is similar to that of a child who tells us what he wants to be when he grows up. Tells us a bit about your current obsessions.

Yes, I freely admit it: I'm

Yes, I freely admit it: I'm obsessed with not getting caned by the government for spitting gum on the sidewalk.

I know what Cambridge

I know what Cambridge leftists think of the country after which Finlandization was named, and I know what they think of Singapore. Consequently, I know what you think of them. You've provided no information to me by actually stating your opinion. You can of course cherry-pick whatever features you please in order to justify your predictable preference.

I don't get the Cambridge

I don't get the Cambridge reference. I've never been to England or Massachusetts.

It's what I know best and

It's what I know best and most directly.

So you extrapolate that it's

So you extrapolate that it's what I know best and most directly as well?

One leftist is much like

One leftist is much like another on stuff like Finland and Singapore.

Ad hominem much? This is

Ad hominem much? This is getting dirty. Let's not make this personal, although I see I'm already a bit too late for that. 

But it was personal to begin

But it was personal to begin with. The beginning is:

That's a good way of putting it. Would you rather live in Finland or Singapore? I choose Finland, if only for the metal and the lack of caning.

That is not an argument but a statement of personal opinion. The foundation of the statement, its ground, is not argument, but person - the person making the statement. Therefore it is already personal. And my response is about the person: I mention something that would qualify a person to meaningfully make a comparison with some authority, i.e. someone whose words carry weight. If someone had lived in both places, then that would give his opinion some weight.

I am aware that people never tire of offering opinions on matters about which they have scant experience. Whence, then, do the opinions come? They are copied from others. And why do those others have those opinions? On political matters, it is often a result of partisanship.

Are you sure?

But the more successful liberals are, the more they will successfully push their laudable views on civil liberties, foreign policy and social policy.

Are you sure about this? I think each party pitches what it thinks is its best rhetoric at the base--Republicans talk fiscal restraint, Democrats talk tolerance and peace--but what they actually do when they get the job is grow the Empire.

And each party probably sounds best when they are out of power and courting popular support, not when they have electoral success and can cash in on all that political capital.

We have a choice...

No we don't. In 2008, both parties offered big-government, pro-bailout, pro-war, pro-wiretap, inflationary, backroom-dealing, statist, all-powerful, imperial rulers. There were differences in which way the spoils were distributed, depending on who made campaign donations to the winner. That's all.

We have a choice between a

We have a choice between a low tax, theocratic police state and a European welfare state.

No, we do not. "Theocratic police state" is ridiculous left wing fantasy which does not belong outside of a Margaret Atwood novel. In contrast, the European welfare state already exists, is not so different from what we have now in the US (though people love to play up the differences), and is genuinely and unabashedly favored by the American left. What part of the European welfare state do leftists not want?

The reality is that we have been heading in the direction of the European welfare state more or less steadily for a long time, under both Republicans and Democrats. Under Republicans the speed is slower, under Democrats the speed is faster.

As for blanket surveillance, what do you think is going on in Britain? Increasing surveillance and the loss of civil liberties is one of the ways in which the United States is becoming more European. Micha mentioned Finland. Well:

During the period of Finlandization freedom of speech was limited. Public libraries removed from circulation books, more than 1,700 titles, that were deemed anti-Soviet and bookstores were given catalogs of banned books.[1] The Finnish Board of Film Classification likewise banned movies that it considered to be anti-Soviet. Banned movies included The Manchurian Candidate, directed by John Frankenheimer in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 1970 by Finnish director Caspar Wrede and Born American by Finnish director Renny Harlin in 1986.

(Wikipedia)

Text editor used to be okay,

Text editor used to be okay, now it sucks badly. It merged all my paragraphs.

"We should invade their

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." - a ridiculous left wing fantasy, never uttered by a famous conservative pundit and never published in the flagship conservative news magazine.

You do realize, I hope, that Finlandization refers to Finland's capitulation to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and not contemporary Finnish policy?

Whereas, contemporary Singapore proudly defends its policy of punishing drug traffickers with the death penalty.

That quote was by a

That quote was by a professional entertainer a key part of whose self-promotion is to draw attention to herself by her over the top rhetoric. And she wrote it on September 12. Coulter is no theocrat. The very idea is laughable.

Finland entered into the affections of the left in no small part because it bowed to the USSR. Once begun, it takes a long time for such affection to fade. Along comes you, whose likes and dislikes are easy to predict based on my assessment of your warm feelings for the left.

Whether one likes Singapore

Whether one likes Singapore or Finland better is a valid matter of personal preference. If I had to pick one to live in sight unseen, I'd pick Singapore. But to each his own. 

This is a political blog and

This is a political blog and the comparison was made in pursuit of a political conclusion. Politics is not legitimately a matter of personal preference because by its very nature politics involves others, and does so coercively.

Everything is a matter of

Everything is a matter of personal preference.

It is legitimate to dispute

It is legitimate to dispute many things. (That very legitimacy is BTW assumed by virtually every post and every comment on this and all political blogs.) Therefore, if everything is a matter of personal preference, then it is legitimate to dispute many matters of personal preference. Therefore, de gustibus non disputandum is wrong. Jacob, however, was arguing from de gustibus non disputandum. So, Jacob's argument was wrong.

Ah, yes, the old

Ah, yes, the old "entertainer" excuse, commonly used to defend any old outrageous thing Rush, Beck, or Boortz might happen to bloviate on any given day. So September 12th was an appropriate day for over-the-top, jovial entertainment in the pages of The National Review? Sounds to me a bit like...TREASON!!!

Finding something that Ann

Finding something that Ann Coulter of all people said eight years ago the very day after the greatest attack that the US mainland has ever experienced, and using this as proof that we are only a few votes shy of a theocracy, is surely the height of cherry-picking, and the height of partisan stupidity. You really have become stupid. You were quite smart a few years ago.

The value of this comment

The value of this comment thread is declining as a non-linear function of its length. 

The original claim was that

The original claim was that there was a choice to be made between low-tax theocracy and a European welfare state. I replied we have long been on the road to a European welfare state. And as a counter-argument, as supposed evidence that we truly are just a few votes shy of a theocratic state, someone brings up a decade-old nasty comment about Islam and what should be done with it by a notorious-for-being-notorious columnist, Ann Coulter, published on the day after 3000 people were murdered on American soil by nineteen Muslims. This  angry quote from an angry column by this angry columnist on this angry day is supposed to be evidence that we are just a few votes short of a low-tax theocracy.

Fear

Politics thrives on fear: fear of theocrats, fear of Muslims, fear of immigrants, fear of the weather.

If you're not afraid, why would you need someone to dig through your luggage when you travel? Or to watch every transaction in your bank account? Or to record your phone calls? Or break down doors in the middle of the night? Or control the economy to make sure only the "good" things get produced? Or confiscate the homes of people who grow the wrong plants? Or take half the wealth out of society and use it to go blow up people?

It's not surprising when shills for a larger State try to make people afraid of each other. What is the motivation for others to do it?

Bet you weren’t expecting this

“Politics thrives on fear: fear of theocrats, fear of Muslims, fear of immigrants, fear of the weather.”

Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise....

Our *two* weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....

Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....

Our *four*...no....

*Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise....

I'll come in again.

(And Constant_ says we don’t need to fear theocracy!)