Contrarianism continued

I began reading Meghan McArdle’s blog after John linked to her critique of Taibbi’s Goldman piece. Personally, I thought her criticisms had some merit.

But here’s some quotes from a random perusal of other pieces on the front page of her blog:

Yes, yes, I know the liberals are squirming in their seats, waiting until they can tell me that it is a MORAL OUTRAGE that I called our system progressive. (link)

That’s a genuine question, and one that I think congressional democrats and Democratic wonks should probably be more conflicted about than they apparently are. Not to concern troll, but it’s a genuinely tricky, and interesting, political question. If you think a second stimulus will work, and is needed, then you’re risking the 2010 midterms and the 2012 election if you don’t do it. On the other hand, what’s the point of electing Democrats if they can’t get a single major program passed?(link)

Medicare has lots of administrative cost savings, they will say. This may be so. But I mean mythical in another sense: there’s ultimately no way to prove or disprove these amazing savings. The problem is indeterminate. (link)

What happens to the cottage industry among Democratic-leaning armchair economists grinding out analyses proving that Democratic presidents are, like, totally awesome for the economy? Presuming that we’re stuck–as seem very likely–in at least a couple of years of really grinding low-to-no growth, Obama is going to destroy their figures. Are we in for a resurgence of belief in exogenous growth factors? (link)

Almost the entire blog is devoted to concern trolling Democratic/liberal policies and ideas, quite frequently with the caveat that she basically agrees with the policy or idea. As contrarian wankery goes, it’s not bad, certainly much better than Mickey Kaus or William Saletan (though not as good as Kinsley), though there’s too much overt emphasis on pissing off her liberal friends (even Kaus occasionally pretends to take positions for some reason other than his desire to annoy liberals).

But — and I know I’m obsessed with this — why does contrarian concern trolling of liberal policies have to be the dominant mode of so much of the punditocracy? I understand the value of one or two New Republic-type columnists but why do there to be thousands? And why is that when a more-or-less exact replica of dozens of other contrarian concern trolls appears, that replica is greeted as a “fresh voice”?

I’m willing to offer one possible explanation: conservativism is so intellectually bereft that there’s no way to even discuss its positions without laughing, so the default smart-ass position is to nitpick at liberals. But I still don’t think that explains why there is so much of this stuff and why pissing off liberals is considered so important.

67 replies
  1. 1
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    why is contrarian concern trolling of liberal policies have to be the dominant mode of so much of the punditocracy?

    Maybe because they are in fact liberals themselves and that is what liberals delight in doing to themselves. It’s all quite pedestrian in the general meme of opposing ones self.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    Most people will try to be both rational and hopeful. But that’s just so commonplace– if you want to distinguish yourself from the crowd, you’ve got to be either irrational or pessimistic (or, y’know, both).

  3. 3
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @MattF:

    if you want to distinguish yourself from the crowd, you’ve got to be either irrational or pessimistic (or, y’know, both).

    This one is a keeper!

  4. 4
    El Cid says:

    The greatest, deepest fear of the ideological establishment is that genuinely liberal, even leftist views take hold. There can be no sparing of resources, whether economic or reputational, in the continual fight against ideas which in and of themselves threaten the establishment.

  5. 5
    KG says:

    why does contrarian concern trolling of liberal policies have to be the dominant mode of so much of the punditocracy?

    I think the idea is to get people to consider not only the intended consequences of a particular policy but also the unintended consequences. There was a time when you’d actually see this among conservatives regarding conservative policies. Those days are gone now because, one, the conservatives are no longer in power, and two, not unrelatedly, they went fucking nuts.

    I don’t see this so much as “concern trolling” but more as reasoning through a policy and looking at the long game. A lot of bad policy came from the failure to think beyond the initial bill.

  6. 6
    RandomChick says:

    I can’t bring myself to follow the link, but in context, is this as stupid as it appears?

    If you think a second stimulus will work, and is needed, then you’re risking the 2010 midterms and the 2012 election if you don’t do it. On the other hand, what’s the point of electing Democrats if they can’t get a single major program passed?

    I mean, the discussion is a SECOND stimulus, how does not passing it prove that they can’t pass a SINGLE major program?

    Wouldn’t the concern be that they couldn’t pass sequential programs?

  7. 7
    DougJ says:

    I don’t see this so much as “concern trolling” but more as reasoning through a policy and looking at the long game. A lot of bad policy came from the failure to think beyond the initial bill.

    Fair enough in some cases. But why the emphasis on pissing other liberals off?

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    You know, John Cole often sounded like a concern troll after he made the jump left. As I recall he was mostly worried that Democrats had policy on their side but were too tactic-stupid or frightened of their own shadow to make it happen.

    As I recall he was mostly right.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    As I recall he was mostly worried that Democrats had policy on their side but were too tactic-stupid or frightened of their own shadow to make it happen.

    That’s not really the same thing, IMHO.

    Those weren’t intended to piss anyone off.

  10. 10
    Johnny Pez says:

    @DougJ:

    But why the emphasis on pissing other liberals off?

    Because they’re political Uncle Toms. They crave approval from conservatives, and the way to get that approval is to parrot their talking points while claiming not to be conservatives themselves. It’s the old “even the liberal New Republic” game.

  11. 11
    gex says:

    Internalized liberalphobia.

  12. 12
    Linkmeister says:

    They may also have become so conditioned to Republican control that they’re unable to reason beyond standard Republican complaints.

    Or, what gex said.

  13. 13
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    As I recall he was mostly worried that Democrats had policy on their side but were too tactic-stupid or frightened of their own shadow to make it happen.

    More recent, it’s been more about dems chewing their own legs off for the fun of it. Like what DougJ is saying.

  14. 14
    BenR says:

    [Edited] to reflect me missing earlier thread. Megan McArdle, still annoying.

  15. 15
    Kryptik says:

    The prime function of the mainstream media these days is to ensure that, no matter how popular a liberal policy might be and how much the public as a whole agrees to its implementation, said liberal policies remain characterized as wholly “unserious” and undeserving of discussion in influential company.

    The WaPo is the most insular, bubble-wrapped example of this. The point is not to inform, or represent. It’s to influence.

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    This sort of thing is not episodic and accidental. Go back in the archives and read the press from 20, 40 years ago. There are reasons for these sorts of patterns, and it’s better to just ignore them, because noticing them (even if scholars prove such patterns constantly too) makes you a conspiratorial DFH and an Unserious Person fringe extremist.

  17. 17
    Maus says:

    Maybe because they are in fact liberals themselves

    I believe it’s part of an “act”, but by playing that role, I don’t consider them a liberal independent of their beliefs.

  18. 18

    Ahg, all this talk of McArdle! I’m finally breaking down and blog whoring for the first time, ever.

    Click my name!

  19. 19
    Anya says:

    I don’t like Meghan McArdle she strikes me as fake. Her arguments are contrived and she does not seem like she believes her own reasoning. I used to click on some of the links from Matthew Y but I don’t anymore.

  20. 20
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    I think it was determined around 1980 that Democrats were like totally uncool. This pretty much accounts for everything Joe Klein wrote from then until about 2 years ago.

    Peggy Noonan wrote, in a blistering attack on the GOP last year, that

    Many [DC Republicans] are ambivalent, deep inside, about the decisions made the past seven years in the White House. But they’ve publicly supported it so long they think they . . . support it. They get confused. Late at night they toss and turn in the antique mahogany sleigh bed in the carpeted house in McLean and try to remember what it is they really do think, and what those thoughts imply.

    And those are the bright ones. The rest are in Perpetual 1980: We have the country, the troops will rally in the fall.

    I think the media buys into that view of the world. Anachrnoistic, false, shrinking demographically, but still powerful for the time being.

  21. 21
    Ash Can says:

    why does contrarian concern trolling of liberal policies have to be the dominant mode of so much of the punditocracy?

    Maybe they’re just not diligent enough and/or imaginative enough to come up with more interesting and substantive things to write about.

  22. 22
    Sid says:

    Perhaps because foks like you can read the posts by a person like her and come away with granting her claims merit, she is a concern troll and nothing more and will continue to be there as long as folks like Doug find her writing has merits.

    So short answer is you Doug.

  23. 23
    b-psycho says:

    In Megan’s case, and that of a few other of who I’d call “reform libertarians”, on top of what El Cid said it’s also a constant balancing act to maintain relevance.

    The Right is obviously a bunch of hypocritical nutjobs, and the reform libs are astute enough to realize that there’s no redeeming quality to them from a libertarian standpoint. Problem is, if they get too friendly with Democrats then they risk being redefined as liberals. Their jobs depend on regularly spiking their content with reminders that they’re not.

    If I thought something like a staunch civil libertarianism combined with a citizen’s dividend & a simple natural resources based tax were politically possible, I’d take their position less skeptically. But it’s obviously not. If you accept government at all, the choices are bloated self-contradictory bureaucracy vs bloated self-contradictory bureaucracy plus bigotry & bloodlust. Pick a side or reject the whole damn thing. I made my choice.

  24. 24
    MBSS says:

    I’m willing to offer one possible explanation: conservativism is so intellectually bereft that there’s no way to even discuss its positions without laughing, so the default smart-ass position is to nitpick at liberals. But I still don’t think that explains why there is so much of this stuff and why pissing off liberals is considered so important.

    i think in some ways this is the new default position. it is reflexively defensive and assumes a jaundiced eye towards the world and exclaims: “of course we can’t morally, philosophically, or even practically justify our platform, but here is x, y, and z, why you can’t either. so lets assume baseline that we are all morally compromised, you and i, and lets take a hard look at the liberal agenda and see how far down into the muck we can pull everything”

    i’ve seen this post-modern worldview amongst the young, more libertarian conservakids. they spit out words like paul, or rand, or legalize pot, and they think that makes them something other than republican drones. they still worship at the altar of megan mcardle economics, thus they are still standard regulation issue infantrymen for the machine.

  25. 25
    mvr says:

    I suspect that you have to look at the market for commentary, rather than the motivations of the commentators to get the right sort of explanation. It isn’t that there aren’t people willing to do another sort of commentary. But those folks aren’t finding main stream jobs as easily. And I think it is partly a result of the Right’s constant complaining about being unfairly treated that leads various venues to go looking either for right wing commentators to show they are even handed, or to prefer their more liberal commentators cynical about liberalism itself or at least ambivalent about it.

  26. 26
    Lesley says:

    What I think, sadly, is that Matt Taibbi is becoming the Sarah Palin of journalism.

    That you would think that is sad, Megan McArdle . It’s also so far off the mark as any comparison could be. It’s not even apples and oranges, more like apples (Matt) and Jimmy Dean’s Pancake-wrapped sausages (Sarah and you).

  27. 27
    Nylund says:

    If you read Megan enough, you realize that all she really wants is for everyone to like her. She writes in a voice that seems sympathetic to liberals so that they might like her, but gives them enough jabs that conservatives may like her as well.

    I think this is all epitomized by how she voted in the last presidential election.

    She spent months going on and on about how she was going to vote for Obama (but only with severe reservations and many criticisms of his policies) and then “forgot” to register and ended up not voting at all.

    Her basic message was, “hey liberal! like me! I was totally going to vote for Obama!” while simultaneously being, “hey conservatives! Didn’t you read how mean I was with all my reservations and don’t worry, I totally didn’t vote for him in the end!”

    In essence she’s always shooting for plausible deniability that she isn’t on the “other” side from the perspective of either side of the debate.

  28. 28
    2th&nayle says:

    But I still don’t think that explains why there is so much of this stuff and why pissing off liberals is considered so important.

    Given that anger would be considered counterproductive to any logical debate, I guess it’s what they consider ‘leveling the playing field.”

  29. 29
    Germane Jackson says:

    It’s a rhetorical tactic that enables hacks with no real ideas or convictions of their own to resemble independent-minded thinkers, and with minimal effort.

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    McArdle blogs on economics but like most conservative/libertarian fiscal commenters passes all the hard stuff off.

    If we can’t count Medicare’s ‘savings’, then it’s even harder to document the free market’s ‘efficiencies’. By bypassing the hard problem, they should be forced to concede every harder problem that requires going through the one they just tossed aside.

    And “analyses proving that Democratic presidents are, like, totally awesome for the economy” just smacks of someone that doesn’t want to hear any analyses. They’ve been praying plenty hard for economic Jesus to come roaring in on his dinosaur and don’t want your old-earth crap to harsh their spiritual buzz.

  31. 31
    KG says:

    @7: is the intent really to piss off liberals, or is that just the projected intent because people like McArdle are pointing out that a preferred policy is not bullet proof? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. If it is the first one, then perhaps, the best response is to ignore it (this is typically what you would advise a kid to do if being teased, no?). If it is the second one, then perhaps that displays an underlying flaw in the movement: that it can not bear scrutiny. In the last administration, we saw how devastating that flaw can be.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    i think in some ways this is the new default position. it is reflexively defensive and assumes a jaundiced eye towards the world and exclaims: “of course we can’t morally, philosophically, or even practically justify our platform, but here is x, y, and z, why you can’t either. so lets assume baseline that we are all morally compromised, you and i, and lets take a hard look at the liberal agenda and see how far down into the muck we can pull everything”

    The Republican idea for health care is selling the organs of the poor. The Democrats health care plan will require a 2% tax hike. Obviously both ideas are unworkable, and therefore equivalent.

  33. 33
    Scott de B. says:

    Mickey Kaus’ contrarianism is pretty easy to explain; in 1968 the Democratic party split between leftists and those who were sympathetic to some of the Democratic positions on civil rights and economics, but supported Vietnam, wanted to get tough on crime, and thought black people moving into their neighborhoods was taking the whole civil rights thing a bit too far, plus visceral disliking of DFHs. This resulted in this segment of the party voting for Nixon over McGovern, Reagan over Carter and Mondale, and Bush I over Dukakis. It also manifests itself in an attitude that treats the Democrats as wimpy wacked out liberals, even after the party took several steps to the right.

    McArdle is to young for that era, so I don’t know where she gets it, perhaps from her parents?

  34. 34
    JimPortlandOR says:

    There is a solution to Meghan McArdle-ism (and her earlier but still fellow-travelers. Ignore them. Never link to them.

    Meghan appears (from her circle of DC friends) to be the ‘tolerated’ libertarian among a group of youngish progressives. I’m not sure if she is tolerated because she’s female in a mostly male setting, she’s a libertardian in a progressive/liberal milleu, she’s a wonderful cook, or she’s just ‘nice’ in person. I refuse to believe that it is because she is a honest and deep thinker, or even a writer that has a smidgen of talent. One can’t expect pearls of wisdom to emerge from an empty oyster shell.

    Meghan who?

  35. 35
    A. Hidell says:

    Kryptik @ 15 and El Cid @ 16 win this prize. There is a reason for such consistent product. This is the rear-guard blunting popular but unprofitable ideas. There are many sinecures available for writers able to produce this kind of product.

  36. 36

    Personally, I thought her criticisms had some merit.

    Pray tell, what might that merit be? It was classic McArdle hogwash. It was the very Slate-like contrarianism you have so rightly eschewed on these very pages. The piece is poorly written and quite confusing if you are aware of the what the facts are that Taibbi so aptly laid out in his RS article. MM’s basic criticism does not refute anything Taibbi wrote with any facts. None. You, if anyone here does, understands the magic waving of hands is not real proof of anything. I realize we are not talking about rigorous proof in the mathematical sense but she offers little in the way of proving her argument.

  37. 37

    I’m willing to offer one possible explanation: conservativism is so intellectually bereft that there’s no way to even discuss its positions without laughing, so the default smart-ass position is to nitpick at liberals.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

    Liberal policies are the only game in town. Conservatives have health savings accounts and tax cuts that pay for themselves. You could write a greasemonkey script to ridicule those ideas.

    Once again, Marcy Wheeler has to beg her readers for $$ to blog and M McA has a sweet gig with the Atlantic. The world ain’t right I tell ya.

  38. 38
    JK says:

    Recent studies have shown that extensive reading of Megan McArdle’s blog may result in headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, light-headedness, blurred vision, drowsiness, lethargy, and lowering of intelligence.

    Anyone who would seriously compare Matt Taibbi is a useless tool.

    McArdle who used to blog under the name Jane Galt (isn’t that cute how she was paying tribute to Ayn Rand) and appeared on Helen Smith’s web show is not worth the time of day. Smith aka Dr Helen is the wife of the execrable Instapundit Glenn Reynolds.

    http://firemeganmcardle.blogspot.com

  39. 39
    John Cole says:

    Re: McCardle

    Come on haters, you have to admit that the line “sure, all this is technically true but collectively nonsense” was a thing of pure beauty. I’m dying to see a lawyer trot that humdinger out during a closing argument. If my lawyer used that line, I would throw my shoe at his head.

    Also, as someone else noted, I thought it was totally awesome that she trotted out “whocoodanode” and “everyone did it” in the SAME paragraph. That was all kinds of awesome.

    The Taibbi/Palin comparison was just the icing on the cake.

  40. 40
    MBSS says:

    The Republican idea for health care is selling the organs of the poor. The Democrats health care plan will require a 2% tax hike. Obviously both ideas are unworkable, and therefore equivalent.

    exactly. which is why if i were arguing from a right wing perspective it would behoove me to muddy the waters, or better yet, focus exclusively on destruction. construction offers the possibility that your enemies might attack you.

    there is an unspoken admission that conservatives policies, or implementation of those policies, or both, are failures, so you see the nihilistic “burn it all” approach. but any conservative will be loathe to admit failure outright.

  41. 41
    MBSS says:

    John Cole, with regards to your last post:
    Sure, all this is technically true but collectively nonsense.

    checkmate.

  42. 42
    ethan salto says:

    Megan veered sharply to the right when she started fucking Dick Armey.

  43. 43
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole:

    Come on haters…

    What can I say, she makes me want to reconsider my opposition to the death penalty.

  44. 44
    Germane Jackson says:

    @John Cole:

    Yeah, that’s the sentence where the bells and lights and fireworks go off and you realize that what you’re reading is pure, unadulterated shit. I mean, what could she possibly even think that means?

  45. 45
    Germane Jackson says:

    Also, “All this is technically true and collectively nonsense” needs enshrining on the order of being aware of all internet traditions.

  46. 46
    chrismealy says:

    conservativism is so intellectually bereft that there’s no way to even discuss its positions without laughing, so the default smart-ass position is to nitpick at liberals

    I think that’s it exactly. Great post.

  47. 47
    JK says:

    The tragedy is that Meghan McArdle wasn’t laughed out of The Atlantic years ago.

  48. 48
    Downpuppy says:

    McArdle pretends to do economic analysis, but is incurably lazy, mathematically illiterate, and a total sucker for rich people in nice suits. So she adopts a position of Glibertarian cynicism, assumes her own perfection, and proceeds to dine on her foot while pretending that she’s done some analysis too deep to share with the peasants.

  49. 49
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    Come on haters

    Nope. I just think she would be better suited writing as a war correspondent in Oceania/Eastasia conflict.

  50. 50
    Belvoir says:

    About Goldman Sachs, this just went up on the NYT 23 minutes ago:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07.....an.html?hp

    Goldman Sachs Likely to Post Huge Profits, Analysts Say

    A two billion dollar profit from March to June. This article includes lines like this: “In essence, Goldman has managed to do again what it has always done so well: embrace risks that its rivals feared to take and, for the most part, manage those risks better than its rivals dreamed possible.”

    Is this a GS press release- or the Newspaper of Record? Flabbergasted.

  51. 51
    gex says:

    @JK: What for? They feature Sully, who on the same day that he mocked the fact that people think restaurants who advertise vegan food should actually provide vegan food and then turned around and posted a dissent about someone who could die if they accidentally eat anything with eggs in it. As though it is outrageous to ask for the food that you pay for be the food that you asked for.

    Compared to that kind of easily identifiable bullshit, Megan starts to look at least somewhat thoughtful by comparison. Apparently the basic default for being published is to immediately mock anything seem on the surface to be liberal in any way.

  52. 52
    Downpuppy says:

    Megan would explain that the market could provide a mechanism where the heirs of the dead vegan would get 30% off their breakfast specials for a year.

  53. 53
    Martin says:

    I’m dying to see a lawyer trot that humdinger out during a closing argument. If my lawyer used that line, I would throw my shoe at his head.

    Isn’t that the Chewbacca defense?

  54. 54
    DonkeyKong says:

    “This world doesnt need less Megans, it needs more Megans!”-Sarah Palin

  55. 55
    Ty Lookwell says:

    Do people even read Mickey Kaus these days?

  56. 56
    Batocchio says:

    I agree with you somewhat, although I’d call it “attempted smart-ass,” since it’s not actually smart. It’s not daring, either, since they’re just shilling for the establishment, even when it works horribly. But Megan certainly views herself as a daring, independent thinker, as does Glenn Reynolds and the rest of the “I hate paying taxes” glibertarian crowd. (The same with Mickey Kaus and countless others.)

  57. 57

    @John Cole:

    sure, all this is technically true but collectively nonsense

    I think this is the essence of the Chewbacca defense.

  58. 58
    Brian J says:

    I don’t see why so many people think McArdle is so great. She’s certainly not dumb, and despite whatever 2×4-style comments she may have made in the past, she’s not a nasty polemicist like so many on the right. But she doesn’t appear to understand any issues in any greater depth than most other bloggers in her league, and a lot of the time, as appears to be the case with her post on Medicare administrative savings, she has little to no point because she doesn’t have crucial knowledge of the situation but draws a conclusion regardless.

  59. 59
    Brian J says:

    Do people even read Mickey Kaus these days?

    He seems to be sort of like Joel Stein, in that some of the public might know of him, but don’t read him. His audience seems to be of people who are already in media or some related field.

    The only things that I remember about Kaus are that he practices pointless contrarianism and has a horrible writing style on his blog. That, and he fucks goats.

  60. 60
    Mayur says:

    Hi guys,

    Making my first comment on what might be my favorite political blog… in large part due to the comments. Sorry if I bring the overall level down.

    In any case, here it goes:

    Stop. Reading. Idiots. Like. McArdle.

    The above-linked stuff from Ms. McArdle née Galt is vacuous, statistics-challenged, and generally pointless maundering. The real problem is that there’s little enough else of substance to read, online or in print.

    I think the problem is that lacking serious conservatives or libertarians (urg) to debate, we’re reduced (“we” meaning progressives or really anyone who falls outside the collective mass of Paultards or self-identifying Republicans) to picking apart meaningless commentary on liberal positions by so-called journalists like this bint.

    Maybe someone just needs to set up an honestly Devils-advocate journal with clearly-articulated, carefully-researched rebuttals to insufficiently-challenged prima facie liberal positions.

    Hmm…

  61. 61
    Paul says:

    I think this exchange from Megan’s comments is instructive (take what you will):

    July 10, 2009 6:50 PM
    So his facts are right, and his conclusion is right, but he was, ummm, shrill?

    Taibbi will be devastated.

    Reply

    Megan McArdle (Replying to: Downpuppy) July 10, 2009 6:52 PM
    No, his facts are wrong, his conclusions are wrong, and only his discomfort with Goldman Sachs’ role in our public life is correct. Since that’s about 5% of the essay, and he doesn’t even explore THAT in any interesteing way, F-

    Reply

    Megan McArdle (Replying to: Megan McArdle) July 10, 2009 9:48 PM
    Or perhaps a better way to say it is that the facts are right, but the mini narratives are ludicrously wrong, which makes the meta narrative suspect.

    Reply

    leftneck (Replying to: Megan McArdle) July 11, 2009 7:55 PM
    That’s an astounding self-reversal. The “mini-narratives” are the problem now? I haven’t read the Taibbi article yet nor do I have a financial background so I can’t really comment, but it reads like you are flailing here.

    And what’s with the tacked on Palin reference? Why in the world would you bring her up so unnecessarily?

  62. 62
    jcricket says:

    I think it’s because if they admit the DFHs are actually right, their entire world will come crashing down on their empty little heads. So they respond with, “you’re right about all that global warming stuff, but Al Gore has a big house, so I’m still right”.

    Simply put, they’re scared to death to admit the truth.

    Even Sully does this, when he finds little anecdotes of liberal idiocy or whatever that lets him cling to the belief that the catholic church can be a home for gays and that conservatism has anything to offer.

    Libertarians and Conservatives have nothing to offer anymore, since they’ve fundamentally wedded themselves to anti and non-scientific ideas (small s, in the sense of “evidence based inquiry”).

    It’s a house of cards being propped up by dirty money, corrupt religious zealots and bigotry.

    I can’t wait for it to come crashing down and for people like McArdle to be out of a job.

  63. 63
    tc125231 says:

    Personally, I thought her criticisms had some merit.

    Anybody who babbles as much as McArdle is bound to bump into an insight somewhere –although it’s unlikely that her “insight” will actually have registered in her own “brain”.

    However, prove the following to me, and I will bow to your genius: –Does McArdle actually produce more usueful reading than say –three monkeys at three typewriters?

    I doubt it.

  64. 64
    Gus says:

    Because looking at this as anything other than a game isn’t allowed. If you earnestly want to implement policies that will help the country, you’re a loser for taking these things seriously.

  65. 65
    liberal says:

    @b-psycho:

    If I thought something like a staunch civil libertarianism combined with a citizen’s dividend & a simple natural resources based tax were politically possible, I’d take their position less skeptically. But it’s obviously not.

    “Natural resources tax” should include land value taxation. Most land value is in urban land.

    AFAICT most so-called libertarians are opposed to taxing economic rents like land, and aren’t against rent-collection from things like patents, because they increase economic inequality.

  66. 66
    Joel says:

    @DougJ: If you must ask, the answer is vanity. The self-anointed Contrarian believes that He or She is smarter than thou. The soundness of the argument is irrelevant.

  67. 67
    MNPundit says:

    Indeed. If McMeghan were prettier, I would like her stuff more. Perhaps a body swap with Meghan McCain?

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