Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pusillanimous pissants

Do you believe that Donald Trump legitimately won the election in 2020? If so, an astonishing number of people, including election officials, state attorneys general, and judges, conspired to fraudulently undermine the election. Indeed, the necessary conspiracy would be so vast that democracy (or what passes for democracy) in America is dead. The entire government lacks any semblance of constitutional legitimacy.

So if you believe this conspiracy, if you believe that the government is irredeemably broken, why are you posting on Facebook/Twitter/whatever? All you're doing is exposing your dissent to an illegitimate tyranny. If you truly are a patriotic American, you should be running to the hills right now with your AK-47 to join the Resistance. 

But you're not running to the hills right now, are you?

You're not because you know that Trump lost the election, and that result is so unacceptable that if elections mean Trump loses, so much the worse for elections.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A call for unity

It's not really a good sign when Paul Campos opens his call for unity, How to build a mass political movement to empower the poor and working class, with an example of a jackass saying something dumb (quoting ComrⒶde Cooper saying, "[I]f you’re a nonvegan, you are not a leftist"). Jackasses of every political affiliation say say stupid shit all the time. It's just noise with zero political significance.

Sure, the Party of Trump Republican party is actually fascist, and there are a lot of people opposed to fascism; however, fascism is a very particular strain (and a particularly malevolent strain) of authoritarianism, and there are a lot of authoritarians, and other varieties of assholes, who are not fascists.

The Democratic party has been the party of neoliberal authoritarianism since Carter. Neoliberal authoritarianism isn't fascism, and is less pernicious than outright fascism, but it's still an anti-worker authoritarian ideology.

Campos's implication is clear: if you don't support the mainstream neoliberal "resistance" to Trumpian fascism, then you're just like that dumbass vegan who is undermining the mass movement. If you're not part of our opposition to fascism, then you're objectively pro-fascist, n'est ce pas?

I've said this for years: it's not enough to declare, even sincerely, that you're against fascism. It's not enough to say that your brand of authoritarianism is slightly less obnoxious than their brand of authoritarianism. 

If you want the support of the working class, you have to actually support the working class. Biden does not want to support the working class. The Democratic party does not want to support the working class. You don't need all the votes to win; I guess you don't want mine.



Friday, May 28, 2021

Yes, Senate Democrats DO understand the urgency of the moment

Mike the Mad Biologist thinks that Senate Democrats Do Not Understand the Urgency of the Moment.

He's wrong.

It's tempting to invoke Hanlon's Razor, but after a point, the hypothesis of stupidity becomes too unlikely to support. And the alternative here is not really "malice".

The billionaire class does not like democracy. Why should they? It's not so easy to maintain an oligarchy when just nyone can vote, and just anyone can credibly run for office.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties serve the billionaire class. Where do you think they get their money?

The Democrats and Republicans barely defeated Bernie Sanders. Increasing democratic voting rights will just give socialists even more opportunities. That ain't gonna happen. 

Remember, the fundamental Democratic slogan is always "Better Trump than Sanders." They rolled those dice twice, and won the second time only because Trump mishandled the pandemic. (And Obama won only because Bush and McCain mishandled the global financial crisis.)

The billionaire class doesn't really want a fascist dictator, but they believe they can survive a fascist dictator; they don't believe they can survive socialism. Most if not all of the big German corporations survived Hitler.

This point bears repeating: the Democratic party has One Job: protect the billionaire class from socialism at any cost.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

A fatal flaw?

Ekosj writes a surprisingly less-bad article at the conservative site Richochet, "Modern Monetary Theory: Wishful Thinking or Exposing a Fatal Flaw at the Heart of Neoclassical Economics?" The author includes the obligatory ideological swipes at MMT, but points out an interesting feature of contemporary macroeconomics.

The supposed "fatal flaw" is that with superficially reasonable assumptions (notably the natural rate of unemployment and rational expectations), the quantity of money drops out of our macroeconomic models.

Well, yes. This feature is more-or-less by design. Economics is usually concerned with the real economy, the goods and services that provide actual utility to consumers. Economists usually view money as a "neutral veil" over what is essentially a barter economy. And, of course, a barter economy needs no money.

Economists do look at money too, but the constrained choices about money are almost, but not quite, completely unlike the constrained choices of an abstract real (barter) economy: a theory of the real economy works doesn't tell us much about how to set up a money system. Very different social systems could, in theory, coordinate a complicated real economy, and the simplifying assumptions are equally weird in every system.

We have to understand money on its own terms, not as something that emerges from real economic analysis. Ironically, when you study money on its own terms in a capitalist, fiat currency context, you get MMT.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

R.I.P. Snopes

For more than two decades, I have relied on Snopes to provide accurate and truthful fact checking.

Lambert Strether makes a compelling case that Snopes just bullshits their readers when they claim that the charge that Biden broke his $2,000 stimulus check promise is "Mostly False". 

It's not. Biden made the promise, and he broke it. I dunno, maybe he had good reasons to break it. Maybe he's just an asshole. I don't really care; politicians break promises all the time, and I didn't vote for him anyway.

In On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt defines bullshit as an indifference to the truth, in contrast to a lie, where the liar cares enough about the truth to falsify it. Frankfurt goes on to argue that bullshit is more destructive to truth than lies.

In one article, Snopes has completely destroyed its reputation for caring about the truth. I simply cannot trust anything Snopes says or has ever said. They're dead to me.

R.I.P. Snopes.