How to sell a contradiction

At least Mark Sanford still has his convictions (via):

When I asked Sanford how that new empathy had changed his views on public policy—whether it had made him, for instance, more inclined to support public-assistance programs he’s long denounced as unnecessary—he said it had not. “Convictions are convictions,” he explained. His empathy is for other public figures recovering from sex scandals and personal humiliations. “I used to open the paper and think, How did this person do that? Now it’s all, But by the grace of God go I.”

I first started to understand conservatives’ belief that Galts go to heaven, plebes go to hell when I read this Nooner piece on Ken Lay:

Putting aside all judgments and conclusions, all umbrage, outrage and indignation, and all debates on who was most responsible for the Enron scandal–putting all those weighty and legitimate concerns aside–isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

When poor people starve or are imprisoned or are killed, it’s usually their own fault. It would be wrong to extend them any sympathy; we owe it to them to be heartless, for otherwise they’ll never learn the Burkean humility that they need to make it in this world. When rich people get caught fucking around on their wives or embezzling money, we need to stop being so judgmental and put ourselves in their shoes for once.

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120 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    Didn’t I read where Sanford was considering having his ex heiress wife run his campaign. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the heiress past, and is only his new found humility shining through.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

    Sadly it wasn’t caused by having each of his limbs attached to a horse.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    Reckon it was him asking her for her blessing, or something

    That should soothe the bea hive hair dos of the local Eastern Star delegates. Not to mention baby jeevus of dixie

  4. 4
    Steeplejack says:

    I am really getting to hate Peggy Noonan.

  5. 5
    NonyNony says:

    Only being able to sympathize with people who are exactly like you undergoing exactly the same crisis you are undergoing is not, in fact, empathy. It’s in fact a signifier of egocentrism.

    And I’m sure that the idea that Mark Sanford is egocentric is a shock to everyone who knows who he is or what Hiking the Appalachian Trail means.

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    “All Galts go to heaven” should be a tag!

  7. 7
    Trollhattan says:

    Oh please, oh please, oh please give us a Mark Sanford-Elizabeth Colbert election. We’ve been good, very good!

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Peggy has turned plain nasty since the election. And she isn’t the only wingnut to do that. I think she is having illicit personal feelings for Obama, and sekretly wants to sit on his face.

  9. 9
    Sly says:

    “This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages….”

    “…The profligacy of a man of fashion is looked upon with much less contempt and aversion, than that of a man of meaner condition. In the latter, a single transgression of the rules of temperance and propriety, is commonly more resented, than the constant and avowed contempt of them ever is in the former….”

    “…To attain to this envied situation, the candidates for fortune too frequently abandon the paths of virtue; for unhappily, the road which leads to the one, and that which leads to the other, lie sometimes in very opposite directions. But the ambitious man flatters himself that, in the splendid situation to which he advances, he will have so many means of commanding the respect and admiration of mankind, and will be enabled to act with such superior propriety and grace, that the lustre of his future conduct will entirely cover, or efface, the foulness of the steps by which he arrived at that elevation.”
    – Pinko Commie Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

    As a writer, Smith’s work leaves a lot to be desired. He’s long-winded and often belabors a point beyond all necessity. But you have to give credit to the man for perhaps being the first person, at least in Western philosophy, to construct a general theory on the phenomenon of “failing upwards”: When you impress all the right people, you can do no wrong.

  10. 10
    pokeyblow says:

    As Mitt Romney pointed out, some people think they are entitled to food.

  11. 11
    jayjaybear says:

    @General Stuck: The problem is she can’t do like she did with Reagan and Bush…sit there and scream “Lie to me, motherfucker!”

  12. 12
    bcinaz says:

    Yeah, but you know…bootstraps.

    (I think Mark Twain would have whacked Nooner’s knuckles with a ruler for all the unnecessary words in that statement.)

  13. 13
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

    Isn’t it obvious that Cheney had the CIA hand Lay some chemical that induces a heart attack, so that Lay could avoid prison and the GOP could avoid the scandal if Lay ratted out the GOP on Enron’s crooked off-shore/off-balance-sheet partnerships?

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  14. 14
    maurinsky says:

    @Steeplejack: Only now?

  15. 15
    Chris says:

    His empathy is for other public figures recovering from sex scandals and personal humiliations.

    I’m sure he’ll be extending his newfound sympathy and understanding to Clinton and Wiener ANY MINUTE NOW.

  16. 16
    Scott S. says:

    @General Stuck: Excellent. Hope she keeps it up. Heartless and resentful is no way to win a national election.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: Hey, there you go again. He once gave 5,000 to a Democratic candidate. So clearly both sides.

  18. 18
    General Stuck says:

    Ken Lay died ?

    He was half way crucified. He was on the other side of no tomorrrrrrow.

  19. 19
    flukebucket says:

    @General Stuck:

    And how about Aunt Milly Whitehead of the Kansas Church of the Pentecost?

  20. 20
    Chris says:

    @General Stuck:

    I can think of a few wingnuts I personally know who went completely batshit after the Obama election. Because of our age, I just attributed it to the shock of having a Democrat in the White House for the first time in their politically aware lives. Peggy Noonan has no such excuse.

  21. 21
    BGK says:

    I remember when I tried to explain objectivism to each of my parents, separately.

    With my father, we were killing a couple of hours in the Charlotte airport, waiting on a connecting flight. It was early 2005, so we were both stewing over Dubya’s re-election. As I was trying to explain all its Randian glory, my father’s facial expression suggested I wasn’t aware I was spewing gibberish, and he was trying to decide if I was having a stroke or had just gone aphasic.

    My mother was rather more pithy. I sketched out objectivism in a nutshell. She pondered it for about 15 seconds and said, “people actually believe that sh!t?”

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    Have Mark Sanford and his Argentinian fiancée picked a date yet? When they do announce a wedding date, or even if they marry in secret and announce it afterwards, it’s going to be open season on Sanford. People will inevitably be reminded, and not for the first time, that he’s an ex-Governor because he abandoned his post to cheat on his wife.

  23. 23
    Djur says:

    OT: I know this is hopelessly pollyanna-ish, but is there a channel by which someone can complain about factual errors in NYT op-eds? I’m talking about this excrement from Bill Keller:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03.....fault.html

    which says:

    In December 2010 the commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, delivered its list of spending cuts and revenue increases, plus the entitlement reforms necessary to fortify Medicare and Social Security for the surge of baby-boom retirees.

    The Simpson-Bowles Commission never endorsed a report — it required 14 votes from the commission members to endorse and pass the report on to Congress, and it only got 11 votes. “Obama ignored his own commission’s report” is an ongoing lie and I am sick and tired of seeing it reported as fact.

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    @Steeplejack:
    You’ve never seemed slow on the uptake before, what’s the cause here?

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @BGK:

    I remember when I tried to explain objectivism to each of my parents, separately.

    First time I read about Ayn Rand on Wikipedia, I thought “it’s like someone wrote down my entire belief system in all particulars and then proceeded to construct a belief system specifically to be the mirror opposite of mine in every possible way.”

    Since that time I’ve mostly given up on religion, which I suppose is a move towards Objectivism in some sense. That’s about it, though.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    Ken Lay would be an interesting case study of what happens, when a traditional business embraces “sexy” new ways of doing business based on government deregulation and the total mess that follows.

    Enron really is a cautionary tale of rent-seeking behavior being disproportionately rewarded by the financial sector and the pressure to please the financial sector.

    The fact that the rent-seeking that made so much money for investors, drove their stock prices up, and what-not has never really gotten the scrutiny it deserves, though the accounting shenanigans did generate some level of WTF! we can’t have this happen again.

  27. 27
    General Stuck says:

    @flukebucket:

    Yup, her too.

  28. 28
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @General Stuck:

    Oh .. you see? No ….

    I just ate lunch and you did that to me!

    That’s just wrong!

  29. 29
    Ruckus says:

    @MikeJ:
    Internets or points? Can’t decide, internets or points, it’s a tough decision.

  30. 30
    Klaus Kinky says:

    @Djur:

    I wrote the NYT ombudsman around 2000 over a Bill Safire column that was, uh, counter-factual. Their terse response (almost verbatim, it’s been a while)?

    “we don’t vet our columnists”

  31. 31
    jl says:

    @bcinaz:

    ” I think Mark Twain would have whacked Nooner’s knuckles with a ruler for all the unnecessary words in that statement. ”

    And almost all five dollar words, used for a nickel sentence. I would give hard cash to real Twain’s “Peggy Noonan’s Literary Offenses”

  32. 32
    Scott S. says:

    @Klaus Kinky: Yep. I’ve heard that a few times, too. Basically, writing a column for the big papers is getting a license to freely tell lies in the newspaper.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    My grandfather, DuPage county Republican that he was, always said Tailgunner Joe died of a broken heart.

  34. 34
    eclecticbrotha says:

    Putting aside all judgments and conclusions, all umbrage, outrage and indignation, and all debates on who was most responsible for the Enron scandal–putting all those weighty and legitimate concerns aside–isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

    Putting them all aside is the only way you can claim Ken Lay had a heart.

  35. 35
    gene108 says:

    @Sly:

    As a writer, Smith’s work leaves a lot to be desired. He’s long-winded

    Long winded is how people wrote back-in-the-day, before they had anything better to do like listen to the radio or listen to the phonograph or look at photographs.

    The fact we have more important things to do* that forces writers to embrace brevity.

    *Youtube videos, blogs, twitter, T.V., streaming music, etc. have forced us to truncate the written word.

  36. 36
    Hungry Joe says:

    Putting aside all judgments and conclusions …

    Nooners has that “Just keep walking” thing down.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yesbut it won’t matter. Becuz, Republican Jeebus. He’ll declare himself forgiven and all will be well. What abandoning the post of SC governour during a potential national emergency?

  38. 38
    Redshirt says:

    Now I know how the Romans felt!

  39. 39
    Bokonon says:

    Poor, poor capitalists. Who will mend their weary spirits and heal their broken hearts, in this dark and difficult time?

    I guess some tax cuts would help.

  40. 40
    pokeyblow says:

    It’s pretty clear that Hitler died of a broken heart.

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    @raven:

    Seems fitting after all the lives he helped ruin…

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    On what other planet would they live broadcast a crashing plane on their news channel? (I hope it crash land’s safely, but I don’t know if I want to see what happens if it doesn’t.)

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @Yutsano:

    Once again, “faith not acts.” “What you do doesn’t matter, all that matters is whether or not you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart,” which in real world terms translates to “whether or not you’re part of our tribe.”

    It’s why fundiegelicals find it so easy to forgive un-Biblical behavior among their ranks.

  44. 44
    PeakVT says:

    @Scott S.: OTOH, I remember Krugman writing (in a blog post) he had to submit sources with all of his columns. Of course, he is a liberal columnist, so different rules may apply.

  45. 45
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Yutsano: But it sounds like he is chastened and will fight on to make certain no one(evangelical or Republican) is ever derailed by a sex scandal ever again.

  46. 46
    Li says:

    Empathy for me, but not for thee! Love only your master, as we only love ourselves.

    Really, these reptilian-minded reprobates who rule us want to not only be exempt from the law of the land, as they have entirely been, but from the very laws of the Universe! I doubt that the those who judge in the end (Be it St. Peter or Anubis and Ammit) will choose to “Look forward, not backward” when the clock tolls for these fools, and this sort of arrogance will not make their hearts any lighter on the scales.

  47. 47
    jl says:

    Hard to tell how much of it is due to problems in the head that prevent normal thinking…

    In Blatant Bid For House Science Committee, Washington State Rep Calls Bicylists Polluters
    http://wonkette.com/504144/in-.....-polluters
    (WA state rep, Orcutt (R) says riding a bicycle a mile pollutes more than driving a car a mile)

    … or pure evile
    Mitt’s Consequential Admission
    http://editors.talkingpointsme.....arking.php
    (TPM reminds us that GOP, on Kristol’s advice, has been totally opposing any health care reform, even reforms that were originally GOP ideas, because it might work, benefit too many people, who would therefore thank the Dems for it.)

  48. 48
    scav says:

    Those elite gods can play up their tenderness to the cruel cruel world all they want, it only makes them sound more delicious.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Is the title a Culture Club reference?

  50. 50
    r€nato says:

    in a just world, Sanford would not be able to go out in public without random passers-by spitting on him.

  51. 51
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Wow. Excellent post, DougJ.

    I wholeheartedly concur.

  52. 52
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Chris:

    First time I read about Ayn Rand on Wikipedia, I thought “it’s like someone wrote down my entire belief system in all particulars and then proceeded to construct a belief system specifically to be the mirror opposite of mine in every possible way.”

    All it needs is a goatee!

  53. 53
    DougJ, Friend of Hamas says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yes.

  54. 54
    hitchhiker says:

    NOTHING offends me more than this phony-ass pious bullshit language:

    But by the grace of God go I.

    People use it to say that they’re just luckier, (not better), than the poor sap who got caught, or got hurt, or got killed. It’s supposed to be an expression of humility — but it functions as exactly the opposite.

    God chose me to be spared jail, or pain, or death, but not those other guys!

    So either it’s random, in which case what’s the point of bringing God into it, or God chose to spare you on purpose because you really do merit some special consideration.

    Gahhh.

  55. 55
    Citizen_X says:

    isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

    Whatever, drunk lady. Long as the fucker’s still dead.

  56. 56
    Ted & Hellen says:

    As the resident conspiracy theorist, I find it quite credible to speculate that Ken Lay is nowhere near dead, but rather, is enjoying a sun and whore-dappled, Republican party-funded, luxury retirement under the palm trees of a privately owned Indonesian island.

    That quick heart attack was more than convenient.

  57. 57
    Crusty Dem says:

    I lived in Houston during the Enron scandal and had met a few Enron employees, no one high up (though I lived not far from Skilling), a lot of them knew something was going on. It was sad, those ignorant to the crimes stayed too long and had a hell of a time finding another job, those in the know bailed out before any arrests and had cushy jobs..

    Anyway, after Lay was arrested, his wife rented a storefront and started selling their furniture from their 5-10 various mansions to pay for legal fees (in theory), laws in Texas made their $30 million rooftop penthouse immune to all/any creditors, but that was about it. Anyway, I had to check out the “store” and it was the most expensive, gaudiest thrift shop in the universe. Where else could you spend 25k on a mahogany bedframe or buy a $3000 used gown? It did prove that money does not buy taste. And of course, the family got away with every dime after Kenny-boy died of his “broken heart” (I assume the foie gras plugged up a few too many arteries…).

  58. 58
    the Conster says:

    It scares me a little bit to think how much I’d enjoy reading about David Brooks being the one swallowed alive by that sinkhole. Does that make me a bad person too?

  59. 59
    patroclus says:

    Convictions are convictions. And acquittals are acquittals.

  60. 60
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Joey Maloney: I approve of this post.

  61. 61
    burnspbesq says:

    @gene108:

    I don’t doubt that Ken Lay died of a broken heart. If I had to watch my life’s work be exposed as a criminal conspiracy, watch the lives of thousands of my employees be destroyed, and watch the firm (Andersen) that was my chief enabler be broken into a gazillion little pieces, my heart would be broken, too.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @hitchhiker:

    But by the grace of God go I.

    I like the Britishism, “there, but for a brace of cod.”

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @r€nato:

    ” in a just world, Sanford would not be able to go out in public without random passers-by spitting on him. ”

    I would laugh my ass off. I would feel bad about being so mean. But, regardless, I think I could not help but to laugh my ass off at him. Like, ROFLMAO, gasping, doubled over, falling down helpless, laughing.

    Might be able to gasp out whether he might like to join me hiking the pristine snow white beaches of the Appalachian Trail, or the Rio de la Plata. For love. True love.

  64. 64
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    As the resident conspiracy theorist village idiot, I find it quite credible to speculate that Ken Lay is nowhere near dead, but rather, is enjoying a sun and whore-dappled, Republican party-funded, luxury retirement under the palm trees of a privately owned Indonesian island.

    Edited for accuracy.

  65. 65
    Roger Moore says:

    @Sly:

    But you have to give credit to the man for perhaps being the first person, at least in Western philosophy, to construct a general theory on the phenomenon of “failing upwards”: When you impress all the right people, you can do no wrong.

    He’s not talking about failing upward, he’s complaining about being able to buy respectability. If there’s no sin so bad that it can’t be buried under a pile of money, then you reward people who do despicable things to get rich.

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    Since that time I’ve mostly given up on religion, which I suppose is a move towards Objectivism in some sense.

    Not at all. Objectivism is just Mammon worship under a fancy new name.

  67. 67
    Splitting Image says:

    @Sly:

    But you have to give credit to the man for perhaps being the first person, at least in Western philosophy, to construct a general theory on the phenomenon of “failing upwards”: When you impress all the right people, you can do no wrong.

    Actually, Nick Machiavelli was familiar with the phenomenon, although in his writings he was mainly concerned with how to identify people like that and how to avoid having them on your side.

  68. 68
    hitchhiker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Thank you for that!

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @hitchhiker:

    My main beef with it is that it’s used so selectively it’s a transparent bunch of bullshit. It’s the conservative version of locker room sympathy for their heroes once said heroes are exposed as fucking scumbags. Thus, that quote gets broken out for things like the Penn State child abuse scandal, the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandals, or just their politicians turning out to be cheaters.

    Do they ever apply this quote to anyone outside The Tribe? When they look at people in American inner cities who turn to crime or people in Middle Eastern shit holes turning to terrorism, have you ever, EVER heard a conservative look at them, pause and go “it should all humble us to think that if we had been born in those kinds of environments, if we hadn’t been blessed with middle class backgrounds or stable families, that could’ve been us; let us all pray for their souls and remember that we all fall short of the glory of God?” Of course not. There you just get angry tirades about the inherent sinful nature of these people, and calls for the bullets to start flying until they’ve learned their place.

    ETA: I understand the basic concept of “there but for the grace of God go I,” and I can’t even say I completely disagree. But the people who spend all their lives threatening fire and brimstone on anyone who’s not part of their inner circle don’t get to suddenly turn around and start preaching mercy just because it’s them and theirs who get caught.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: @Roger Moore: If you believe that society exists, if you believe in some concept of the common good or common welfare, if you recognize that other people have value that is not directly related to their ability to provide you with a material benefit, you are not moving toward Objectivism in any meaningful sense.

  71. 71
    MomSense says:

    @Klaus Kinky:

    They don’t vet their columnists but they are superdee duper careful with their reporters (cough, blair, cough, cough miller).

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I always thought Objectivism was just regular conservative ideology made consistent and stripped of all its PR bullshit. It admits frankly that its first last and only principle is “me me ME!” It doesn’t hide behind a “but but, selfishness is really altruism because trickle down economics mean it benefits EVERYONE!” And it drops religion. All religions require that their followers recognize the existence of something greater than themselves – Ayn Rand says “fuck that, there is nothing greater than myself” and encourages others to do the same. As opposed to all the gymnastics “mainstream” conservatives go through to convince themselves that it’s okay to be selfish because Jeebus wants them to be selfish.

  73. 73
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Edited for accuracy.

    Hey Burnsie, forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you still a fucking Roman Catholic?

    If so, I’d be careful about calling anyone else a “village idiot.”

  74. 74
    Mike in NC says:

    If anybody knows a thing or two about umbrage, outrage, and indignation, it’s Dear Old Peggy.

  75. 75
    r€nato says:

    @jl: well, just to be clear, it’s not his politics, nor his adultery. It’s the chutzpah. It’s the confusing ’empathy for others’ with being a fucking sociopath, with not giving a shit about anybody else’s misfortunes unless something unfortunate (created by your own willful acts) happens to you.

  76. 76
    Sad_Dem says:

    I still wonder if Kenny Boy faked his death. Abatement FTW!

  77. 77
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    One of your greatest bits of trolling, Doug J, was when you were on this blog simultaneously claiming that Bush the Lesser barely knew Ken Lay and that Ken Lay was a great American who was being persecuted solely because he was friends with Bush the Lesser. Really amazing work there–pitch-perfect wingnutese.

  78. 78
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Sad_Dem:

    I still wonder if Kenny Boy faked his death. Abatement FTW!

    Most likely. But you can’t say that here.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    But you can’t say that here.

    And yet both you and Sad_Dem did so.

  80. 80
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yeah, man, cause we’re BAD!

  81. 81

    Simple solution.

    Make it a job requirement that all elected politicians must spend at least six months of their given term in residence in public housing, living on minimum wage and supplemental food assistance, and getting their health care through Medicaid.

    Because it is apparently impossible for people to imagine how much something sucks unless they live it themselves.

  82. 82
    daverave says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:
    I’ve never believed he died when “they” said he did.

  83. 83
    Trollhattan says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Most likely.

    Those words mean what you think they do.

  84. 84
    nemesis says:

    Peggy “thousand point of blight” Noonan. Not unlike a pebble in ones shoe. An aggravating nuisance.

  85. 85
    Steeplejack says:

    @maurinsky:

    I used to think of her as a sad, slightly funny Miss Havisham, sitting in her decaying mansion with her gin and her portrait of St. Ronald. But Obama’s presidency has really brought out the active malevolence (as with so many right-wing pundits).

  86. 86
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @pokeyblow:

    By rights, there should be a “Hitler Finds Out That Ken Lay Is Dead” video on YouTube, but I checked and there isn’t.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @nemesis:

    Peggy “thousand point of blight” Noonan. Not unlike a pebble in ones shoe. An aggravating nuisance.

    One can remove a pebble. Peggy stays around.

  88. 88
    Calouste says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    He didn’t become an ex-Governor because he cheated on his wife. He just rode out his second term despite abandoning his post to get some nookie and was term limited out at the end of it.

    That he is nothing more than an ex-Governor, yes, that is because of the whole affair.

    Btw, I still can’t believe that, except for one blogger who did catch him, there was no press looking out for Sanford at the airport when he came back. There were pretty strong signs that he had flown out from there and would probably return that way.

  89. 89
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:
    I was under the impression that Objectivism did exactly the kind of mental gymnastics you’re talking about. Each person serving their own selfish interests is supposed to be better not only because it advances freedom but because it actually serves the interests of the general economic good better than altruism. It’s the same basic greed, but without the sheen of traditional religious views to make it seem like it came from Jesus.

  90. 90
    Bighorn Ordocvician Dolomite says:

    RE: the linked Taibbi takedown of Bobo–while I strongly agree with Taibbi’s take that Brooks is a completely amoral asshole, I have a slightly different take on the Haitian earthquake being a poverty problem.

    Haiti just shows you what a lack of or unenforced building codes can do to you. On one level Brooks is sorta right about that not being a purely “natural disaster story.” Parts of the US can be and have been hit with earthqukes of similar size and we don’t suffer 50,000 dead. Of course I don’t know what Brooks’ take is on the way we avoid that fate is we give up on principled Burkean caution regarding big government and just go right ahead and fucking tell you how to build a building and check to make sure you follow through.

  91. 91
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Calouste: Yep. Basically, his punishment is not being able to run for the open Senate seat in his state this time around (he would have needed to wait for that seat to open up, since he’s too cowardly to run against Graham and no one would run against DeMint) and merely getting to go to Washington as a house member. I mean, he’s going to need to run for that post three times before he even gets a full pension. The indignity of it all.

    Of course, one could tell the South Carolinans all day long that if you offer men like him free food and money like that, those types only breed more, but they won’t listen.

  92. 92
    catclub says:

    @Suffern ACE: “no one would run against DeMint”

    Indeed, not, since DeMint is no longer Senator there.
    A young conservative Black man is.

  93. 93
    g says:

    who was most responsible for the Enron scandal

    silly me, I was under the impression that what took place at Enron was CRIME, not just a scandal.

  94. 94
    David Koch says:

    you blew the title (no pun intended), it should have been “How to Sell an Erection”

  95. 95
    JP7505A says:

    If reading about Mark Sanford and Ken Lay isn’t depressin enough, Dave wiegel ahs a link to a Mother Jones article about teaparty Florida. It is hard to believe how crazy these people are. They have defunded most of the mosquito research and abatement (seems mosquitos are part of the Kenyan plot), repealed the law requiring inspection of old septic systems and cut funding for home health aides for sick kids (they have to be born they don’t have to have pleasant lives once they are here). On the other hand you can get you sick kid into a nursing home run by one of Scott’s friends and corporate taxes are slated to be eliminated by 2018.
    The degree of ‘stupid” is really hard to understand. At some level I can understand a princpled oppostion to Obamacare BUT mosquito abatment and leaking septic tanks.

  96. 96
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I admit I haven’t read that much Ayn Rand, but the impression I got from what I have read is that she rules “the general economic good” as pretty much irrelevant. If poor people starve, it’s because they deserve to starve. The official GOP line is “if the rich get richer, the poor will get richer too.” Ayn Rand, on the other hand, seems pretty blatantly on board the bandwagon that “the poor must starve so that the rich can get richer, because the poor are unworthy parasites and fuck them.”

  97. 97
    Sly says:

    @Roger Moore:

    He’s not talking about failing upward, he’s complaining about being able to buy respectability.

    Which is a core component of failing upward. The slobbering idiot of a king needs his doting courtesans as much as the doting courtesans need him. They rationalize and justify his idiocy, and heap accolades upon him, and he confers meaning and power onto their empty lives.

    Why should Tom Friedman, for instance, do anything remotely resembling a scholarly piece on globalization (either in criticism or praise) when he can string a bunch of pointless anecdotes and half-assed mixed metaphors together into a jumbled word-salad of dreck that simply reinforces the conventional wisdom of his middle-brow cohort? If he does the latter, not only will he continue to occupy one of the most valuable pieces of editorial real estate in the world, but be the recipient of immeasurable praise from those of power and influence. He has no incentive to be a competent writer or thinker; in fact, just the opposite.

    The same is true of all incompetents among elite groups that fail upward; politicians, financiers, pundits, etc. They tell their fellow travels what they want to hear, which has the benefit of requiring little effort and not rocking any boats. And when you don’t rock any boats, all other transgressions are forgiven. Even being wrong. Hell, Bill Kristol is wrong about everything, but his last name is Kristol.

    In other words, you can buy prestige with currencies other than money.

  98. 98
    Redshirt says:

    Ya gotta admit though, the Wingnut version of Christianity is damn convenient. A supremely flexible cudgel.

  99. 99
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Roger Moore: O.K. Self-interest, Self-Concern and Selfishness are different things. The point of Objectivism is to confuse all three. The utilitarians argue that maximizing utility means that altruism is really at its heart self interest, but while they deny that purely altruistic may not actually exist, at the same time they allow that the seemingly altruistic acts they are trying to explain away are good. Objectivists do not believe that altruism is worth discussing at all, unless one wants to discuss evil ideas that hold back great people.

  100. 100

    @hitchhiker:
    I’m not exactly religious, but I must protest here. The interpretation you’re describing is in the modern ‘prosperity gospel’ context. The saying is MUCH older than that. A major part of the original meaning of that saying was that you WEREN’T any better than the guy who suffered. For his own inscrutable reasons God picked one person to get the axe and one person to be spared, and the saying makes it clear you know damn well God could have picked the other way.

  101. 101
    Tone in DC says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    Big time LULz.

    I don’t think she’s the only G00per woman with such thoughts.

    And since so many of said wingnut females are less than open-minded regarding race, I figure Nooners, Michele Bachmann, Jan (late for the AA meeting) Brewer, Kristi Noem, Lynn Jenkins and Michelle Malkin would all lurve them some Big Dog if they thought they could get away with such.

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Objectivists do not believe that altruism is worth discussing at all, unless one wants to discuss evil ideas that hold back great people.

    Objectivists would also reject the concept of enlightened self-interest.

  103. 103
    Sly says:

    @Splitting Image:
    Machiavelli made some excellent points, but Cesare Borgia wasn’t exactly the best example of a competent prince who was entitled to rule based on the merit of his intelligence.

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say Machiavelli wrote most of what he wrote, and not just in the Prince, in order to curry favor among the elite families whose alliances were constantly shifting. This was, after all, the same guy who highly recommended the practice of faking one’s own death, and may have had some experience of his own with that particular art.

  104. 104
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    These people are monsters.

    Death by slow torture is too humane for the likes of Sanford and Noonan.

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    When objectivists wail about moochers and takers, they are engaging in a lack of self awareness and pure projection that is among the most dazzling displayed in our era. They’re also engaging in the greatest display of chutzpah since the guy who killed his parents and asked the court, in pronouncing sentence, to be lenient due to his status as an orphan.

  106. 106
    Sly says:

    @Chris:
    Ayn Rand’s analysis of endemic poverty began and ended with looking at, in complete isolation, which nations or peoples were rich and which were poor and reasoning that the rich became rich because of capitalism and individual freedom and that the poor became poor because they simply weren’t capitalist enough.

    This, of course, purposefully ignores any historical relationship between rich and poor that might have had an impact on the relative economic position of both groups, because that might impel a critique of wealth that Rand and Objectivists (and their libertarian inheritors) don’t want to make. But then you’re stuck in the position of saying that Africa, for instance, became poor all by itself with no assistance from Europe. Centuries of rape, pillage, murder and enslavement? What possible harm could that do?

  107. 107
    the lost puppy says:

    When poor people starve or are imprisoned or are killed, it’s usually always their own fault.

    fixt

  108. 108
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Objectivism is just Mammon worship under a fancy new name.

    FTW!

  109. 109
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sly:

    Adam Smith would kick Ayn Rand’s worthless bony ass back to Russia.

  110. 110
    aimai says:

    Maybe someone said it first in 108 comments but the fundamental dishonesty of this jerk, Sanford, is on display with the pro forma remark “there but for the grace of god go I.” Look, asshole, god’s grace apparently directed you to go exactly and one hundred percent “there.” God’s grace did not shine upon you. You spectacularly and publicly committed adultery and also cheated your constituents. That wasn’t god’s grace talking. That’s all on you.

  111. 111
    Roger Moore says:

    @Sly:

    This, of course, purposefully ignores any historical relationship between rich and poor that might have had an impact on the relative economic position of both groups

    And, of course, it treats political and economic systems as fixed. Maybe the reason that Communist countries tend to be poor isn’t because Communism can’t deliver prosperity but because it can only take over in places where Capitalism has failed to do so.

  112. 112
    blondie says:

    Unlike Peg, I wouldn’t say Ken Lay’s life was tragic on a Shakespearean level. I would say it was more Hooverite.

  113. 113
    slippy says:

    I’ve been having a hate-on for Peggy Noonan for awhile, and I have to admit watching her shit a watermelon on Election Night 2012 was priceless.

    Her statement that “poor” Ken Lay died of a broken heart makes me want to punch her squarely in the forehead. Fucking cunt. You start to get a real feel for how ignorant and useless people are after listening to them talk for awhile, and for my money Peggy Noonan is more qualified to dig shit out of a vat with her bare hands than she is to “write” or “think” about anything.

    Typical Republicanism: promote a wide-eyed dingbat to official scribe because she’s so grateful for her un-earned elevation that she will in that position write whatever shit they tell her to.

  114. 114
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This is one of my biggest objections to conservative “philosophy,” actually – the fact that it compares national systems as if they were monolithic, uniform and, above all, fixed and unchanging. It’s something I mostly notice in their cultural “theories,” but it applies when comparing political systems too.

    Explains, among other things, their view of “America” as a mystical, timeless entity imbued with an inherent and unchanging character, as opposed to, well, a country.

  115. 115
    Suffern ACE says:

    @aimai: Well, you have to admit, being wealthy and powerful is definitely a sign that God really hates this man. God could have made that harlot some kind of mundane person, but he placed her in Argentina, where she could only be reached by plane or through economic trade missions. Oh, her temptation was just so great. A lot of us would like to have affairs with people in Argentina. We really would. But God loves us too much to allow that to happen.

  116. 116
    Cermet says:

    So, when this ass wipe is asked “(Has he) changed his views on public policy …”

    he answers ” …it had not. “Convictions are convictions,” he explained.”

    So, his cheating on his wife and throwing her and his children out like so much useless garbage was and remains one of his core convections, then. Nice this ass wipe admits that he is a utter low life that even whale shit rates higher than.

  117. 117
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Cermet: You see, when the poor family breaks up, it’s really a different experience than what he went through. He cheated on his wife because of the stress of his job and his wealth and power. Why the poor woman needs to go on welfare when she could just sue her poor husband for child support is beyond comprehension. Maybe she won’t get child support because poor people’s relationships are just different. Poor people have lousy relationships because they have life that is too easy and stress free, maybe.

  118. 118
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Sad_Dem:

    I still wonder if Kenny Boy faked his death.

    I don’t. I am intrigued by the possibility that he had some kind of goods on Bush and/or Cheney and was quietly murdered (although even that seems improbable), but he did not fake his own death to live a life of quiet (thought wealthy) anonymity. He was a sociopathic narcissist billionaire. It’s simply not in his nature to disappear quietly. If it were otherwise, all of these rich fuckers would just retire to the Caribbean once they’d made their first billion rather than keep grinding away in pursuit of even more money that they couldn’t possibly spend in a single human lifetime.

  119. 119
    Mike G says:

    isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart?

    No, that was the thousands of employees of power companies taken over and looted by Enron, who saw their retirement funds mandatorily converted to Enron stock and then wiped out. Or as Repukes call them, the invisible people.

    His empathy is for other public figures recovering from sex scandals and personal humiliations

    Real big-hearted of Mr. Boinking the Argentinian Tail, to have empathy for people exactly like himself. Ask him if that tolerance includes Bill Clinton and I’m sure he’ll have a hair-splitting excuse as to why that was Totally Different cuz Jeezuss loves him.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:
    I believe that’s why a lot of conservatives say they believe in god. They can be as big of assholes as they feel like and get a free pass, at least in their minds.

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