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Bloggingheads
01-15-2008, 05:55 PM
*****

bkjazfan
01-15-2008, 06:34 PM
So, "the cat is out of the bag" with Ron Paul's shady friends at lewrockwell.com and the Von Mises Institute. How about the democratic frontrunner, Barak Obama's church which he is deeply committed to? Talk about racist and conspiratorial. I am not sure whose friends are worse: Paul's or Obama's? Well, they are both pretty bad.

robert61
01-15-2008, 07:08 PM
It takes a cocksman to understand the NH polls, and Roissy in DC (http://roissy.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/polls-and-new-hampshire/) is your man. His take? Middle-aged women were sympathetic to Hil's crocodile tears and were not inclined to reveal their voting preference in advance lest they offend the delicate sensibilities of their menfolk. Roissy's bawdy exposition may not appeal to all readers, and of course his explanation is conjecture, but it does seem to line up perfectly with the demographic data.

ChevesL
01-15-2008, 08:30 PM
Alright, look. Jonah Goldberg is not a Yale-educated PhD with reams of sparkling scholastic material published in The Important Journals. I'm sure those who peruse those journals in their soft, tenured chairs find Jonah boorish and brutish and all sorts of other bad adjectives. Got it. He is given to flights of flagrant partisanship by seeing the eeeeevil of the left and giving a pass to the right. This is in contrast to whom?

In the end, Jonah Goldberg is not an intellectual by the standards of the Great and Good at the NY Times Editorial Board.

I don't care.

Jonah is an uncommonly creative, interesting, funny, smart writer who is able to articulate deep, important issues to tens of thousands of regular people---most of whom actually went to college, thankyouverymuch. Whether or not his book misses its mark or not, to call Jonah someone who needs and "intellectual Marshall Plan" absolutely defies belief. Pay very, very close attention: 99% of the time, he's not writing to you. He's. Not. Writing. To. You. He's writing to people with, you know, jobs and stuff who like to think as well as produce goods and services for the greatest economy ever created.

Further, if you've ever read The Corner, you'll notice that Jonah often provides the brakes when partisan fever breaks out. He's the "house goy" on immigration among conservatives by seeing BOTH SIDES (you hear me, Henry?) of the argument. He's shown a lot of courage by criticizing the Bush Administration, even saying that we'd have been better off with John McCain.

But why not just snark snidely and dismiss him? After all, people (ugh!) actually *read* his stuff.

piscivorous
01-15-2008, 08:58 PM
Yes the left will be hot to tear Jonha down because if the "illiterate masses" read his book and see the truth of it they know that their meme will be destroyed. I have made similar arguments in this forum, that a totalitarian regime is more likely to arise from the left than the right, and was blissfully excoriated for saying such a blasphemous thing. The truth hurts and the left will deny it at the top of their lungs and with hatred from their fingers.

Trevor
01-15-2008, 09:39 PM
Pay very, very close attention: 99% of the time, he's not writing to you. He's. Not. Writing. To. You. He's writing to people with, you know, jobs and stuff who like to think as well as produce goods and services for the greatest economy ever created.

I believe that this line of argument, that only the intended audience for a work has standing to evaluate its merit, is most closely associated with this brilliant comic strip (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/24).

I hereby propose that we name it "The Catsby Fallacy."

Back in the real world, "I'm writing for a popular, not a scholarly audience," is not really an excuse for writing things that aren't, you know, true.

jbg
01-15-2008, 10:19 PM
I think Farrell is off-base on Goldberg. I don't know anything about his book, but I find Goldberg interesting and entertaining on the Bloggingheads knockoff "What's your problem?" series he does with Beinart. At a minimum, he shouldn't be dismissed regardless of his views.

conlibsoc
01-16-2008, 12:03 AM
Like, it seems, just about everyone involved, I haven't read all of Goldberg's book (I've read a few parts). So I may be doing it an injustice. But I think I have a fairly good idea of his argument from what I have read; and I know something about the material he's discussing. And, well -- his argument does seem, not only grossly partisan (as people have said, he's a polemicist -- that's what he does), but also inaccurate and logically unsound. Sure, we should deal with the substance of Goldberg's views rather than dismissing him out of hand. But if you present yourself as offering a historical account and political analysis -- as Goldberg does -- I don't see why you should be given a free pass for getting your history wrong or engaging in sloppy analysis, just because you're not a professional academic. It's not a matter of writing simply. It's not even a matter of over-simplifying (which would be grounds for criticism in itself). It's a matter of getting things wrong, either because you can't fully deal with the complexity of the material you're dealing with -- or don't care to.
(Incidentally, I think this is too bad because there's actually a good book to be written about the attraction of many on the Left -- including, in some cases, the fairly moderate Left -- to, if not fascistic, at least authoritarian and collectivist ideas in the mid-20th century. There are points where Goldberg seems to come close to writing this book -- but his desire to score points, and his failure to grasp the full historical picture, keep pulling him away from these better moments).

somerandomdude
01-16-2008, 12:23 AM
You know, every time a liberal talks about this book and notes the similarities between the radical right and fascism, he always says, "now I'm not saying that they're fascists." As an example take Matt Yglesias: "[Goldberg] is a steadfast supporter of the political party representing the dominant ethnocultural group in the United States, the party that supports torture and unlimited surveillance, the party that supports a larger and more aggressively employed military, the party that supports a more punitive criminal justice system at home, the party whose backers are prone to fretting about low birthrates, the need to police gender roles more rigidly, etc." but he won't say what we all know to be true. Look, the radical right are a bunch of fascist fucks. They really are. If they had half a chance they'd round us all up.

scotchex
01-16-2008, 01:48 AM
Ok, so first he defends Krugman's blatant smear that Repubs are all racists by arguing that you have to read Krugman's book, and that Krugman is more nuanced than one might realize. Ok, fine. But then, about a minute later he feels competent to trash Glodberg's book (and intellect and character) while admitting he hasn't read a word.

What a putz. I was vaguely embarrassed for the man. I would have felt more sympathy for Farrell if he didn't come off as such a thin-skinned, mean-spirited clown. He's the type of repellent personality that's is near impossible to like him even when I agree with him.

Drezner, on the other hand, is pleasant and interesting even when I totally disagree with him. Drezner also was visibly uncomfortable when Farrell went off on his crazed, child-like rant. Which speaks well of Drezner.

TwinSwords
01-16-2008, 07:17 AM
Ok, so first he defends Krugman's blatant smear that Repubs are all racists
But of course, Krugman never said any such thing, as you are surely aware. So why are you lying?



he feels competent to trash Glodberg's book (and intellect and character) while admitting he hasn't read a word.
I don't need to read a book that says the earth is flat to know it's bunk. Only the easily duped will actually accept Goldberg's absurd premise that Nazi's were liberals, that fascism is a phenomenon of the left rather than the right. A political scientist, especially, doesn't need to waste his time and money on Goldberg's silly book to know it's a joke. You can't redefine fascism through argumentation. I could spent 500 pages trying to argue that 3+3=1578, and no one would need to read it to dismiss it.



What a putz. I was vaguely embarrassed for the man. I would have felt more sympathy for Farrell if he didn't come off as such a thin-skinned, mean-spirited clown.
Henry? Thin-skinned and mean-spirited? LOL. You don't know him very well.



Drezner also was visibly uncomfortable when Farrell went off on his crazed, child-like rant. Which speaks well of Drezner.
It's just as likely, if not more, that Drezner was afraid of criticizing a potential patron. Drezner, at least nominally, is a conservative and a Republican. It wouldn't be in his interest to burn bridges with the editor or NRO and a major figure at the magazine. Still, I doubt he accepts Jonah's absurd premise. I'm sure Drezner sees Jonah's book for what it is: Yet another in a long series of wingnut books designed to do little more than poke liberals in the eye. But at the same time, that's Drezner's world. Those are his ideological friends. He has little to gain by offending them. He's already sane enough that they distrust him. If he was honest about Jonah's book, they would disown him totally.

ChevesL
01-16-2008, 08:47 AM
Did you read what I wrote? (99% of the time, he's not writing for the critics)I was directly addressing the offhand dismissal of Goldberg, not speaking to the merits of his argument (my copy of the book is in the mail). If his analysis is wrong, fine fine fine---I can't speak to that since I've yet to read it.
He writes to a different crowd; that doesn't make him immune from criticism when he tries to make historical analysis. But that does not make him *stupid*, either. This is something academia doesn't get.

TwinSwords
01-16-2008, 09:03 AM
Did you read what I wrote? (99% of the time, he's not writing for the critics)I was directly addressing the offhand dismissal of Goldberg, not speaking to the merits of his argument (my copy of the book is in the mail). If his analysis is wrong, fine fine fine---I can't speak to that since I've yet to read it.
He writes to a different crowd; that doesn't make him immune from criticism when he tries to make historical analysis. But that does not make him *stupid*, either. This is something academia doesn't get.

Goldberg's book is a 400 page ad hominem ó a broad brush attack on every liberal for the last 100 years as fascist. You should not be surprised that when Goldberg starts a conversation with an insult, he will be insulted in return. I'm sure we can agree that a more elevated discourse would be desirable. That's why Goldberg shouldn't have written his absurd work of historical revisionism in the first place.

TwinSwords
01-16-2008, 09:07 AM
Pay very, very close attention: 99% of the time, he's not writing to you. He's. Not. Writing. To. You.
This must be the Fox News standard, whereby if the intended audience is conservatives, you don't have to be accurate or factual in your reporting. The basic idea seems to be that conservatives don't mind fallacious reasoning and factual inaccuracy.



He's writing to people with, you know, jobs and stuff who like to think as well as produce goods and services for the greatest economy ever created.
LOL!

ohcomeon
01-16-2008, 10:04 AM
First good laugh of the morning. Thanks!

osmium
01-16-2008, 10:53 AM
i won't say anything about mr. goldberg. however, when you title a book liberal fascism, or anything like that, you pretty much give away the fact that is not a serious work. that goes for books written from the left as well.

maybe it is his editor's fault, which would be a shame.

but, if your title reads like the new york Post, one might assume the point of the book is mostly contained in the title, something people are supposed to see in the bookstore and get the vague point. copy the text inside out of the phone book and the book would still be serving its purpose.

a good writer could think of an equally provocative title that wasn't so loaded. don't tell me that was the only choice.

Wolfgangus
01-16-2008, 11:06 AM
when you title a book liberal fascism [...] you pretty much give away the fact that is not a serious work

Agreed. Perhaps "The liberal roots of fascism and modern parallels", or something. But it is just as well, I don't want a plausible or intriguing title to sucker me into reading crap. So, in this case it turns out we really can judge the book by its cover, and that is a good thing.

ChevesL
01-16-2008, 11:12 AM
I'm saying it again...Henry hasn't read the book, but he calls Jonah stupid. Jonah writes on a normal basis OPINION PIECES. Ergo, Henry was commenting on Jonah's writings based on his assessment of current policy. Liberal Fascism is more fact-driven analysis. I haven't read it either, so I can't say if it's the new Bible or a farce.

Whatever. Lots of bright liberals read Jonah. Plenty don't. The point is, he shows his ignorance and apathy by dismissing Goldberg out of hand.

Jay J
01-16-2008, 11:13 AM
That Gloria Steinem article was interesting. She makes some interesting points.

But something struck me as askew: At one point she listed the reasons why she supports Hillary, and among them was that Hillary has "no masculinity to prove."

Then later she says "...what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex."

I don't see either candidate focusing expliitly on their race/gender very much, though it happens sometimes. But Hillary has said that having a woman president would be a big change, while it seems that Obama generally says that his campaign isn't about race. All in all, neither Hillary or Obama are making race or gender a huge deal.

But I find it ironic that Steinem would say in one breath that a feature of Hillary's campaign is that she "has no masculinity to prove," but then complain that Hillary's campaign is seen as divisive because of her sex.

First, I don't think the mainstream sentiment is that Hillary Clinton's campaign is divisive because of her sex. And I'll go on record as saying that I'll suppoprt Hillary 100% if she's the nominee. But if I were asked to critique that article before it was published, I would have said that it's not as coherent as it could be, because it complains about Hillary's campaign being pegged as divisive because of her gender, then it says that one of the reasons to support Hillary is that she "has no masculinity to prove."

BTW, do people vote for the war because they are trying to prove their masculinity, or do they vote for the war because they're trying to prove they're not too feminine? Is there a difference?

Joel_Cairo
01-16-2008, 11:37 AM
It's just as likely, if not more, that Drezner was afraid of criticizing a potential patron. Drezner, at least nominally, is a conservative and a Republican. It wouldn't be in his interest to burn bridges with the editor or NRO and a major figure at the magazine...He's already sane enough that they distrust him. If he was honest about Jonah's book, they would disown him totally.

Someone like Drezner biting his tongue so as not to offend someone like Jonah is the saddest thing I can think of. If things are really that touchy in the right-side of wonkery, something has seriously gone wrong. I'm reminded of the contemporaneous issue about the lack of real policy difference in the democratic primary, and the fear of the eventual candidate going to go into the election without having been seriously challenged on any of his/her core points, resulting in policy positions and debate points as flabby and atrophied as Goldberg himself.


And to scotchex, you may have a point about Henry & Krugman. He's quite the Krug-fan, and is always deferring to him and whatnot. So Krugman's his binky, whatever. But that said, your failure to accept that people can know the ponderous, mouth-breathing Jonah Goldberg to be genuinely unintelligent individual without having purchased his hardcover vanity-scribbling is just baffling. When a new Pauly Shore movie comes to the cineplex, do you have to sit through it to know it sucks?

osmium
01-16-2008, 12:13 PM
Whatever. Lots of bright liberals read Jonah. Plenty don't. The point is, he shows his ignorance and apathy by dismissing Goldberg out of hand.

sure, agreed. he does seem like he's digging in too much, and if he thinks it's trash to brush off, he should just brush it off.

however, what i'm saying is that i agree with anyone who says the title shows poor judgement, which often presages a poorly thought out book. i think it's like what if bob had titled Nonzero instead: Evolution is True AND God IS GREAT!!!! the uh-oh crapola bells would have gone off.

they probably wouldn't have gone with a fuck-you title if the book were actually important. i think on these grounds one may criticize it without reading it.

garbagecowboy
01-16-2008, 01:35 PM
Very insightful analysis. Can we hear your thoughts about George W. Bush and his world-historical similarities or dissimilarities to Hitler?

jmcnulty
01-16-2008, 01:43 PM
The title of the book comes supposedly comes from the phrase "Liberal Fascism" used by H. G. Wells, an influential intellectual in the first third of the Twentieth Century, during a speech at Oxford. Then, when Mussolini was making the trains run on time and the world seem mired in a Great Depression, Fascism was very attractive to intellectuals. This was before the horrors of Nazi Germany. The idea was to militarize society with an elite directing lesser motrals on the right path. Why not have intellectuals draw up "industry codes" that would regulate and suppress destructive competition? What was it that Roosevelt called it, the NRA ("We Do Our Part" was the slogan)? The point that he is making is that Hitler delegitimized fascism, which until then had enjoyed a popularity and respectability among intellectuals, even Leftist ones (see the Hitler-Stalin pact and how the Left overnight went from fearing Hitler to praising him). The term "Liberal Fascism" does not imply that all liberals are secret fascists -- although the Left has no hesitancy about calling Bush and Cheney "fascists" -- but to point out that at one time fascisism was not only intellectually "respectable," but desired amongst the intellectual classes. You may deny this, but how many intellectuals supported totalitarian Communism and Stalin during the Thirties, even through the Moscow show trials? Of course, Johan Goldberg is just a columnist and clever wordsmith, not an intellectual like those listed elsewhere here, implying that they are "smarter" and "more worthy" than us poor working stiffs. Rather than point out where he is wrong factually, it is easier to condemn Goldberg as an idiot and "mere" newspaper writer (a criticism that cannot be made againt Paul Krugman -- who has been predicting an imminent recession for 10 years -- who is also a professor, having one of those gradiuate degrees that some here think are so important.) Our society does not value intellectuals enough. I think they should wear special dress -- colorful academic robes -- so everyone would know at a glance how smart they are. I am sure it would impress the bagboys at the supermarket. As in the Soviet Union, intellectual would be known as "academicians" and respected with special grants and housing and jobs. Why shouldn't professors make $750,000 per year, rather than substitute tackles on the Carolina Panthers squad? We obviously need to "rationalize" society.

Dr. Anatole
01-16-2008, 02:36 PM
I started into Liberal Fascism at the bookstore yesterday, and speaking as a liberal, I'm surprised and pleased at how defensive Goldberg's argument is.

I didnít know it beforehand, but Goldberg's history is the opposite of normal conservative revisionism. I was expecting him to try to reclaim liberal heroes for conservatism, arguing something along the lines that the noble JFK would hate the fascist Teddy Kennedy, or that Truman would have voted for Reagan, or that MLK would have distanced himself from todayís civil rights movement and was secretly a conservative, etc. Basically I was expecting something along the lines of ďthe Democrats used to be great, but theyíre all way more liberal and fascisty now than they used to be, and the party left me.Ē I think Victor Davis Hanson says something like this. Instead, Jonah lumps the entire mainstream bipartisan consensus form of 20th century American government from FDR to Nixon under 'liberal fascism,' which is the opposite approach, and which is fine by me, a Galbraith Democrat. Iíll certainly take credit for Ikeís domestic policy if the conservatives donít want it. Fascism to Goldberg means pretty much any federal activity, it turns out, but what does that mean conservatives get credit for? Tax cuts? Deregulation? Opposing lots of popular stuff?

Conceding all the major successes of 20th century government to liberalism only heightens the isolation of conservatism historically and ideologically from mainstream America. Given that conservatives look like they'll be punished again this November, Goldberg calling the rest of America fascist seems like a confirmation of conservatism's increasing ideological, historical, and electoral marginalization.

Ultimately, I take Goldberg's defensiveness as a good sign for those of us who would like to see conservatism retreat back into the basement of American politics whence it came.

scotchex
01-16-2008, 03:09 PM
This Goldberg bashing is just odd. You might disagree with the guy's preferred policies, but he's obviously a bright, funny guy. I've seen him speak a couple times. The vitriol is just oddly misplaced. He's a fairly laid-back, charmingly quick-witted conservative. Just watch some of the talks he has with Peter Beinert from The New Republic.

I've also seen Krugman speak several times and he comes off prickly and unpleasant. I think Krugman has long since leapt into Noam Chomsky land and is willing to use every rhetorical device to just beat down his perceived enemies. Krugman seems like a guy deeply angry that we haven't all just appointed him emperor by now. Just humorless.

Sure, Krugman did some good technical economics work many years ago. But he's a rabidly vicious lefty polemicist now. Krugman clearly feels passionately about his preferred policies and decided to spend the political capital he earned through his academic career by becoming a columnist and just bashing public opinion into submission.

I guess I can admire Krugman's commitment to his ideals, even if I find his barely controlled rage painful to watch. Every time I've seen Krugman talk he doesn't just argue his opponents are mistaken, but deeply evil and morally repugnant. Krugman always has that psycho gleam in his eye, like he's railing against all the evil sinners of the world. He's like a nerdy left wing pentecostal preacher. The guy is kinda creepy.

thprop
01-16-2008, 03:39 PM
I think Drezner is still pissed at Mearsheimer for being turned down for tenure at the University of Chicago. When he tried to compare Walt and Mearsheimer to the lunatic paleolibertarians, he went too far. (http://brainwaveweb.com/diavlogs/8080?in=00:44:47&out=00:46:27) I guess it is OK to go bow down at the feet of AIPAC but to address CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) (http://www.cair.com/) is somehow anti-semitic.

So there can be no discussion of US Middle East policy since saying anything critical of Israel would align your views with those of David Duke. What a great way to end debate.

And there is no Israel Lobby.

Dr. Filthy McNasty
01-16-2008, 04:21 PM
Dear Conlibsoc,

When you write that Goldberg shouldn't be given a pass on getting his historical facts wrong, could you please provide a list of two or three such factual mistakes?

I mean you must be referring to something, right? Well, what?

edhesq
01-16-2008, 04:41 PM
FYI. Goldberg's title "Liberal Fascism" is a quote of H.G. Wells, an intellectual leader in the Progressive movement.

gruffbear
01-16-2008, 04:52 PM
I haven't read all of Goldberg's book (I've read a few parts)

You mean, you thumbed through it at a Barnes & Noble. So now your observations qualify as authoritative.

jmcnulty
01-16-2008, 05:02 PM
Message to Dr. Filthy McNasty:

It doesn't matter whether the facts are "right" or "wrong." If you are waiting around here for factual corrections, you will grow old waiting. It is a mater of "taste," which is immune to mere "facts."

For example, no one has been more factually wrong about the economy than Paul Krugman. I remember when he predicted collapse from the Enron scandal; now Enron is dwarfted by Citigroup.

No one takes him seriously as an economist. He may still be a former economist. He is now a shill for the Left, dedicated to making credulous readers of The New York Times (judging by its stock price, there are not many) believe that evil Republicans are scheming to take their 401-K's, send their jobs to China, prevent them from having abortions, deny them the right to vote, force them to pray, and send them to Iraq to fight and die for "Big Oil."

Are we really supposed to believe that Sen. "Scoop" Jackson, were he alive today, would be a liberal Democrat? Ask Sen. Joe Lieberman the question. Since "taste" is paramount, it is easy to describe Jonah Goldberg as a "mouth-breather" and Fox toadie. That way, you can loftily ignore his arguments since they come from "one of those."

By the way, Drezner is a libertarian. I have never seen anyone call him a "conservative," and he has no associations as a "movement conservative."

Thus Spoke Elvis
01-16-2008, 06:05 PM
In another time (and with another book cover, etc.), I think Liberal Fascism would've been a perfectly fine title. It's attention-grabbing and suggests an interesting idea.

Of course, in modern discouse the title will not be interpreted as referring to a strain of fascism being left-leaning, but rather as suggesting liberalism=fascism.

I think Goldberg is a pretty intelligent guy who is a lot more reasonable and even-handed than some make him out to be. I've also witnessed him display a greater familiarity with the history of liberal thought than many of the progessives he's debating.

That said, Goldberg seems to be divided by two impulses. Part of him wants to be taken seriously as a scholar and a thinker, and the other part of him wants to be thought of as a fun-loving geek. The problem is that you can't do both. What I've read (mostly a skim) and heard others say about the book suggests to me that the book is fairly well-researched. Unfortunately, it's hard to take the book too seriously when it has such an unserious cover and goes onto silly tangents about the organic food industry.

jmcnulty
01-16-2008, 06:29 PM
The cover of the book was designed by the publisher's art department. I have heard Goldberg say that he is no more than lukewarm about the cover, although the design seems to have done what the publisher of a popular history book would want -- get the book noticed and talked about. If the book is a best-seller -- and early indications are that it will be since, the last time I checked, it was # 4 on Amazon -- Jonah Goldberg will be unconcerned that he has been rejected for membership in the Philosopher's Club here at Bloggingheads.tv.

jbg
01-16-2008, 11:08 PM
I'd agree that both the title and the cover of the Goldberg book are annoying. He's using liberal as a synonym for "left-wing" but it doesn't fit - left-wing fascism would have been a more accurate, if much less catchy title. Classic Liberalism (which is the root of modern liberalism) places individual rights above everything else and is essentially the opposite of fascism (and Communism). Left-wing and fascism, OTOH, are totally compatible. You can call the Nazis left-wing but you can't call them liberal in any meaningful sense any more than you can call Communists liberals.

I feel the same way about Goldberg as I do about Ponnuru and the title of his book about abortion. They're both interesting and personable guys, but I wish they hadn't picked titles that seemed to be designed to market their books to those who dislike (as opposed to disagree with) the left - the sophisticated Coulter crowd, so to speak.

I'd also agree with the guy above who finds Krugman off these days. Still, there was a period in '02 and '03 when he seemed to be the only major pundit willing to take on Bush. The guy has guts.

bramble
01-16-2008, 11:32 PM
This Goldberg bashing is just odd. You might disagree with the guy's preferred policies, but he's obviously a bright, funny guy.

scotchex
I probably would not go so far as to call JG "bright," but I agree that he has a sharp wit and is a good partisan brawler. I always enjoy his diavlogs. He comes across well on webcam, so I wonder why doesn't do much TV? (Maybe he does. I don't watch cable news much, so I really don't know, but I have never seen him on TV, so I have the impression that he doesn't do it much. Can anyone confirm or deny my impression?)

You are also quite perceptive about Krugman being prickly on camera. Public speaking is not his strong suit. He comes across better on the radio, though. I do take exception with the idea that being a good economist has anything to do with being able to predict a recession or boom. If that were true, all billionaires would be economists. Krugman's wiki page says, "Unlike many economic pundits, he is also regarded as an important scholarly contributor by his peers." You can take that quote with a grain of salt, but I'd wager it is probably true.

I've been so intrigued by all the debate over JG's book that I've been tempted to buy it and maybe review it in the local alternative weekly I sometimes write for. In fact, I'd have to do the review, because I can't imagine slogging through that doorstop without getting paid for it. I agree with Drezner who said, in not so many words, that JG's book seemed awfully like a The Road to Serfdom manquť. Reading it for fun is not my idea of fun.

bramble
01-16-2008, 11:37 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to add:

When are we going to get the official Liberal Fascism diavlog?

I vote for Spencer Ackerman and Jonah Goldberg.

I know: not happening.

piscivorous
01-17-2008, 12:15 AM
I watched Jonah on CSPAN2 Book-TV talking about this book. It was a pretty good synopsis of the book and he took some questions. He is the same when giving an extended speech as he is on BH.tv; wound up and enthused. From this show I got the distinct impression that the title of the book was deliberately meant to inflame the left and you have got to admit as a marketing ploy it is probably quite effective.

garbagecowboy
01-17-2008, 12:23 AM
Link: http://liberalfascism.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YzQwM2I4ODgyOWEwMDM4YTc5ZTNhY2M2MzkyYTI4MDA=

Dr. Johnson
01-17-2008, 12:29 AM
Henry's animus toward Jonah may be partly fueled by an old post in the Corner where Jonah dismissed him as "some guy named Henry". http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MzQxZmEzZjQzMmU2MTkwOGY4ZGZjZDA1OTcwYzM0OWU=

TwinSwords
01-17-2008, 03:14 AM
Bramble,
That's a good question, but I was thinking it would be great if Henry himself could be Jonah's interlocutor. I have a feeling that Jonah will be too much of a coward to face anyone who could substantially challenge him, however.

Recall how angry Jonah became last time someone inquired about his book? He looked like he was going to smash his computer. For an overfed and pampered child of privilege, he sure is touchy (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/427?&in=00:56:00&out=01:12:58). But I guess that's too be expected of spoiled children, isn't it?

TwinSwords
01-17-2008, 03:46 AM
The title of the book comes supposedly comes from the phrase "Liberal Fascism" used by H. G. Wells, an influential intellectual in the first third of the Twentieth Century, during a speech at Oxford.
So what? It's totally irrelevant. Not only was this prior to the holocaust, and even the Night of the Long Knives, Wells does not represent contemporary liberals or liberalism any more than you do. It's a red herring, and not a very clever one at that.

This is like when Fox News and Insight Magazine smeared Obama as a radical Muslim and tried to lay blame for it at the feet of Hillary Clinton. Now you think you're cute and clever because you're calling the Democratic Party and liberals for the last 100 years "fascists," and laying blame for it at the feet of HG Wells.

Hint for you McNulty: HG Wells didn't write or publish Jonah's book. Jonah did.



Then, when Mussolini was making the trains run on time and the world seem mired in a Great Depression, Fascism was very attractive to intellectuals.
True: Intellectuals in the Republican Party. Conservatives in America were huge on Hitler and Mussolini. Democrats and liberals not so much. It was the conservatives and Republicans, the wealthy and the industrialists, who found Hitler's fascism so appealing. Don't try to shift this to "intellectuals" or, worse, liberals. That's dishonest and wrong. And finding a few isolated examples of liberals who said something you can take out of context, or which is not representative of Democrats and liberals generally, is hack work consistent with most of your past practice.



The point that he is making is that Hitler delegitimized fascism, which until then had enjoyed a popularity and respectability among intellectuals, even Leftist ones (see the Hitler-Stalin pact and how the Left overnight went from fearing Hitler to praising him).
Again, you are massively overstating the case. There was never, by any stretch of the imagination, anything even close to widespread praise or respect for Hitler or fascism among liberals or the left. There was widespread support for Hitler in America, but it was almost exclusively on the American right, especially among the wealthy.



The term "Liberal Fascism" does not imply that all liberals are secret fascists
Please. It absolutely does, and that was the entire point of the title. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have needed to write that sentence, and none of us would be having this conversation. This is just the latest example of conservatives believing they can just make up any version of the truth that suits them, much like Karl Rove's recent pronouncement that it was the Democrats in Congress who pushed George W. Bush to war with Iraq -- an assertion I would expect you to parrot and promote, given your enthusiastic dishonesty.



although the Left has no hesitancy about calling Bush and Cheney "fascists"
A slight rhetorical excess.



You may deny this, but how many intellectuals supported totalitarian Communism and Stalin during the Thirties, even through the Moscow show trials?
Now you are actually referring to something true, even if only in the service of your larger lie. No one denies that left-wing ideology as manifest in communism led to totalitarian states ó China, Soviet Union, Cuba, etc. This is the conventional understanding of the political spectrum: far-left equates to totalitarian communism, while far-right equates to totalitarian fascism.

How would you react if Henry wrote a book called "Conservative Communism"? You would certainly recognize it as a farce if we tried to transplant communism from the left to the right. It's equally a farce for you to attempt a transplant of fascism from the right to the left.

Maybe you should study the Spanish Civil War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War) to learn something about how these two ideologies (communism and fascism) actually got along in reality, and which American poltical factions supported which sides in that war. The answer: Conservatives and Republicans supported the fascists -- and do to this day, while the left supported the Soviet Union. You try to lump them together as kin, but honest people who are connected to reality know that they are mortal enemies and diametrically opposed.

With respect to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to which you referred, again you are either unaware of the history or willfully misrepresenting it.

First, the pact was a source of widespread outrage on both the left and the right for the very reason that the two ideologies were polar opposites. Both the left and right felt betrayed by the agreement.

Second: You pretend the pact was evidence of ideological parity between communists and fascists. But it was not. The pact was a tactical agreement of mutual self-interest designed to buy time and secure hegemony for both sides.

I suspect you are fully aware of both of these points, yet you choose to misrepresent history in the interest of defending Jonah's trash.




Rather than point out where he is wrong factually
You must not pay any attention to anything besides Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn, and Ann Coulter. Jonah's book has been substantially discredited all over the place.



it is easier to condemn Goldberg as an idiot and "mere" newspaper writer (a criticism that cannot be made againt Paul Krugman -- who has been predicting an imminent recession for 10 years -- who is also a professor, having one of those gradiuate degrees that some here think are so important.)
I love it when you conservatives attack education, and at the same time want to be taken seriously.

TwinSwords
01-17-2008, 06:19 AM
Funny comment about Jonah's piece of trash, from Crooked Timber:

Itís completely sensible to say that fascism is a philosophy of the left. Thatís why support for Hitler and Mussolini in Britain was strongest in the Labour Party and the Liberal Party, and opposition to them was strongest in the Conservative Party. No, sorry, Iíve got that the wrong way around.

Well, at least opposition to Hitler and Mussolini in the USA was strongest in the Republican Party and support for them was strongest in the Democratic Party. Oh no, wait, Iíve mixed that up too, havenít I? Gosh, these things are so confusing. How am I supposed to remember that fascism is really liberal when history keeps getting it backward?

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 08:45 AM
First a shout-out to TwinSwords, who wrote much of what I would like to have written. Back to jmcnulty:

not an intellectual like those listed elsewhere here, implying that they are "smarter" and "more worthy" than us poor working stiffs.

If you define "intellectual" as somebody with a graduate degree, then we are smarter and more worthy than you poor working stiffs. The primary determinant of becoming an intellectual is in fact IQ, which makes us "smarter", and intellectuals (PhD's) earn about four times the average working stiff, which in the eyes of society makes us worth more, i.e., more worthy.


Paul Krugman [...] is also a professor, having one of those gradiuate [sic] degrees that some here think are so important.

Can we assume that misspelling is a joke, like the bumper sticker "Colege Gradguit"? Probably not, sadly enough. Graduate degrees are important. The American job market is a classed society based on education; divided on the fault lines of degrees: Bachelors, Master's, PhD. There are many nuances of school prestige, but a PhD from an accredited university still trumps a Bachelor's from Harvard any day. Having been hiring professional workers for 30 years I can testify to my own bias and its effectiveness, and the evidence is in the spam: Why do you think all those bogus degree plans proliferate?

Anybody that has been to college knows that for many professions the Bachelor's is just the skeletal skills, not the meat on the bones. A Bachelor's in mathematics does not prepare you to be a professional mathematician, any more than a Bachelor's in Business Administration qualifies you to be an investment advisor or lawyer. The advanced degrees of Master's, MBA and law school are what do that.

Bachelor's for many disciplines are enough to get jobs, as programmers or electrical engineers or what have you. But as an employer, the Master's go to the top of the pile, and I am willing to pay a 20-50% premium on salary just for that. If we are talking about corporate officer positions, I do see a few older guys with just bachelor's degrees on their wall, but the bar has long moved to Master's which are disproportionately represented in the halls of power. We want MBA's running our divisions and certified accountants keeping our books because they have proven they are smart, and our financial life is in their hands. We don't turn our businesses over to people that think they are smart but have no proof of it.

Our society does not value intellectuals enough.

I know you are being facetious, but I will counter anyway: Society values intellectuals pretty highly, the salary shows it. We don't get more money for nuthin', skippy.

I think they should wear special dress -- colorful academic robes -- so everyone would know at a glance how smart they are. I am sure it would impress the bagboys at the supermarket.

Perhaps you think it wouldn't, but it probably would; we know from sociology that people without degrees defer routinely to people that have them. The bigger the gap, the greater the deference given. Degrees confer power, period.

Why shouldn't professors make $750,000 per year

I suppose if they did, it might raise the level of education in the world. But ultimately this is probably economically unsustainable and professors make what they do as a result of market forces.


We obviously need to "rationalize" society.

Society is pretty rational already. But don't worry, that doesn't mean you have to join us. We have the rational capacity to cover your rationality deficit and then some. Semper Fi, dude.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-17-2008, 09:43 AM
So, "the cat is out of the bag" with Ron Paul's shady friends at lewrockwell.com and the Von Mises Institute. How about the democratic frontrunner, Barak Obama's church which he is deeply committed to? Talk about racist and conspiratorial. I am not sure whose friends are worse: Paul's or Obama's? Well, they are both pretty bad.

When did Obama allow anyone to publish praise of Farrakhan in a newsletter named after him? I don't really see much similarity between the two cases.

If there's a conspiracy it's got to go awfully deep -- Obama has persuaded many white people, even conservatives, who know him well that he's no racist.

Are you genuinely worried that Obama is a black racist? Cohen's slimy column repeatedly denies that he is worried about that, but then he continues to raise the worry -- like Antony praising Caesar's murderers as "honorable men". Vile!

bjkeefe
01-17-2008, 10:01 AM
Wolf:

You're nice to treat jmcnulty to a reasonable answer. I myself couldn't get past the dissonance of a comment which starts by belittling the worth of advanced degrees and professional achievement, only to conclude:

Our society does not value intellectuals enough.

Oh, wait. He was being sarcastic in the second part?

In that case, I don't know why you waste your time engaging with someone who thinks ignorance is something to be proud of.

Anyuser
01-17-2008, 10:26 AM
Wolfgangus,


If you define "intellectual" as somebody with a graduate degree, then we are smarter and more worthy than you poor working stiffs. . . .
The American job market is a classed society based on education; divided on the fault lines of degrees: Bachelors, Master's, PhD. There are many nuances of school prestige . . . .

Please remind us what your academic credentials are.

osmium
01-17-2008, 10:38 AM
If you define "intellectual" as somebody with a graduate degree, then we are smarter and more worthy than you poor working stiffs. The primary determinant of becoming an intellectual is in fact IQ, which makes us "smarter", and intellectuals (PhD's) earn about four times the average working stiff, which in the eyes of society makes us worth more, i.e., more worthy.

i don't know. i didn't like that jmcnulty's speech against "intellectuals" either, but responses like this probably don't help.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-17-2008, 11:01 AM
Here is a review by somebody who did waste his time reading the book:

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=jonah_goldbergs_bizarro_history

Essentially, the writer charges that Goldberg gets his conclusion by assuming that populism is essentially left-wing, rather than a political style common to both left and right.
And, as I've verified by having a look at the book at Border's(spend money on that dreck just to show how ridiculous it is myself? -- I don't think so!), he does often rely on the guilt-by-association fallacy: A lot of liberals are vegetarians; Hitler was a vegetarian -- QED.


And here's a good post on something idiotic Goldberg said in a discussion of his book:
http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=300

Defending certain ridiculous claims can be quite lucrative. Jonah is smart enough to engage in a little intellectual buffoonery when it will advance his position in the movement and sell some books.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 11:33 AM
My point is about intellectuals in general, not me. Let's look at The Numbers (http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032007/perinc/new03_001.htm) kindly provided by the US Census Bureau. This is for all people in the USA over 25, either sex, any race. Although I might wax philosophic about various minutiae of this fine data, let us start simply with just the mean row and education. I skip the "Professional Degree" category (which is the highest earning at $117K) because the rewards for this kind of specialized knowledge (e.g. Nursing, Law) are less grounded in intellectuality. So let's just look at the traditional educational path:

Less than 9th Grade: $21.4K
9th to 12th, non-Grad: $24.7K (+15.4%)
High School Graduate: $33.4K (+35.2%)
Some College, No Degree: $38.3K (+55.1%)
Associate's (2-Year) Degree: $41.5K (+8.4%)
Bachelor's Degree: $58.9K (+41.9%) (+76.3% over HS Grad)
Master's Degree: $70.8K (+20.2%) (+112% over HS Grad)
Doctorate Degree: $104.2K (+47.2% over Masters, +76.9% over Bach, +212% over HS)

What people earn is a pretty pragmatic indication of how much society values them, just due to the nature of free markets. I have added the percentages over the previous degree to the side. Note these are for any flavor of associates, bachelor's, master's or doctorate.

And the facts on the ground are that an individual's value to society is closely tied to their academic achievement. The mean income rises monotonically for every degree obtained, all the way up to the PhD. A Master's is worth more than twice what a Bachelor's is worth, and a PhD is worth more than 3 times what a Bachelor's is worth. Society does value academics, and values them quite highly, on average.

If we start talking about pragmatics, like expendable income, these ratios climb even higher. The high-school grad grossing $33.4K has a take-home of maybe $24K, and maybe $6K of that is expendable income. The doctorate earning $104K has a take-home of maybe $75K, and although his cost of living may be double that of the high-school grad, that leaves $39K as expendable income, or 6.5 times as much.

These are just the facts as they stand. Society votes on the worth of people with their dollars, and although we can point at egregious examples where the rule doesn't hold, the average behavior reflects an underlying respect for intelligence and education at every level of society. It is not just "some people" that think those graduate degrees are important, virtually everybody in the country disagrees with jmcnulty and his disdain of academia.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 11:35 AM
Because they are inflammatory? What is wrong with telling the truth? Also, please see my response to AnyUser, in which I provide some useful evidence for my position.

mpg77
01-17-2008, 11:41 AM
Hi, Jay J:

The Steinem article struck me, actually, as quite strange. First, she invented an imaginary black woman to prove the sexism affecting Hillary Clinton and all women candidates. Strange, first because the real, live Carol Moseley-Braun served as US Senator for Illinois shortly before Obama's election. Does this mean sexism is less of an impediment than racism?

Well, all of these silly comparisons only work if one doesn't talk about the specifics of race and gender politics blending *together* for each person. Currently, black women are generally outperforming black men in terms of educational and professional achievement. I can think of only one arena (the military) in which black men might exercise authority over white women. But the history of slavery and lynching, and the current hierarchy in most national institutions offers many opportunities in which black men are subordinate to white women.

This is only to say that the picture is not as neat as Steinem wants to set it up, with all the men on one side and all the women on the other. The fact that she announces that she isn't doing so is either hypocrisy or self-delusion.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 11:58 AM
I can think of only one arena (the military) in which black men might exercise authority over white women.

I've been a business consultant for decades, and I have seen many instances of black middle-to-upper management exercised authority over white women subordinates. I didn't read the article in question, but certainly business is one such arena. I have worked with black project managers, black programming managers, black professors with white female graduate students, black marketers, black sales managers, and a black VP of accounting with white women handling payroll and expenses. This may be anecodotal, and probably the percentage of blacks in these positions are not proportional to the percentage in the population, but I think they are proportional to the percentage of blacks that get the education necessary to pursue these professions.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-17-2008, 12:06 PM
And courtesy of Matt Y (http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/01/plenty_space_to_encase_whateve.php) Michael Ledeen's review of _Liberal Fascism_:

http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/michaelledeen/2008/01/14/fascism_liberal_and_otherwise.php

Anyuser
01-17-2008, 12:28 PM
You equivocate among different qualities: market worth, non-expert "intellectual" worth, and social status. I'm sure you're right about the correlation between IQ and academic achievement and the correlation between academic achievement and income. However, there's not a reason in the world to believe that somebody with a PhD has a lick of insight or even common sense in areas outside his/her expertise. In fact, the business people I know that ride herd on PhDs suggest that they have the emotions and judgment of junior high school girls. Also, the unpleasant social reality is that somebody with a graduate degree in some geeky subject from a no-name state college has nowhere near the prestige of somebody with an Ivy League Bachelor's degree. I also think you're mistaken about the expertise conferred by an MBA and about the lack of intellectuality in law.

You're not going to remind us of your academic credentials?

jmcnulty
01-17-2008, 12:43 PM
Reply to TwinSwords:

The title of the book, for which Goldberg was excoriated, was not his fault, but was taken from a speech by H. G. Wells, a prominent intellectual at the time. Wells was using the term favorably, as an example of what needed to be done. He wanted a liberal fascism, an orderly totalitarianism.

He was not saying that fascism was liberal. He wanted the values of liberalism superimposed on fascism -- in other words, a "humane" fascism. Goldberg explains all this at length and traces it back to Woodrow Wilson.

Why else were so many features of the "New Deal" drawn from fascism? At that time Mussolini was cited as a favorable example. Fascism does not require Jew-hatred or jack booted thugs in the streets with broken windows and burning synagoges. Marxism involves ownership of the means of production; fascism involves control of the fruits of production.

You can blame Goldberg for the choice of the title, but then again, it is popular (not academic) history. The point was to be provacative and attact notice. I guess the truth hurts.

What he is saying is that fascism has roots in the Socialists movements of the 19th Century. Mussolini started as a socialist. The Nazi Party was the National Socialist Workers Party. The red in the Nazi swastika flag was designed to attract communists. Stalin admired the way in which Hitler exercised control over Germany in the Thirties. The nascent German military trained in the Soviet Union away from prying Western eyes. It was anti-Capitalist, opposed to "the rich," in favor of worker's rights, environmentalism, health ("Strength Through Joy" and smoke-free), and medical hegemony (medical bureaucrats making the decision of whether someone had a "life worth living"). Sound familiar?

Who is smearing Obama now? Do you think Bob Kerry is an agent of Fox News, Insight Magazine, or the Republicans? And don't ask me about Obama's COCAINE USE! I won't talk about Obama's COCAINE USE, which he put in his book on PAGE 123. So don't ask me about Obama's CONCAINE USE! I am certainly glad that Obama's COCAINE USE has been prevented from becoming a campaign (Obama's CONCAINE USE!) issue.

If you want to argue that conservative intellectuals (isn't that a contradiction in terms?) were infatuated with fascism and Hitler at a particular point in time, I will certainly agree. There is enough blame to go around. But why are you so offended by Goldberg's book? If you want to tell me that Henry Ford was an antisimite, I will certainly agree. I am in favor in intellectual truth. But you react to facts you don't like as being akin to heresy

I would suggest that you read the book before saying that anything is "massively overstated."

Your reaction to a comment about the Left routinely describing Bush and Cheney as "fascists" is that it is "a slight rhetorical excess" If this answer was serious, then you are admitting the truth of what I said; if you were being factious, you were making a joke while also admitting the truth of what I said. Then why are you so outraged by the title of the book? It is not also a mere "rhetorical excess" understandable in the context of selling books?

The whole point of the book is not to call liberals (who in fact have little in common with 19th Century liberals) fascists, but to show that their roots are in 19th Century Socialism. Communists and fascisits are not "polar opposities," but brothers under the skin. The Nazi-Soviet pact shows how easily they could cooperate. They agreed, for example, that Poland should disappear. Were our relations with Saddam Hussein at the time of the Iraq-Iran War purely "tactical" and evidence of "mutual self-interest designed to buy time and secure hegemony for both sides"? I thought the Left condemned the United States for "encouraging" Saddam Hussein to make war on Iran?

As a suggestion, perhaps you should read a book before describing it as "trash" if you want to be known as an intellectual.

Regarding Ruch Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Mark Steyn, I have not heard any one of them say anything about Jonah Goldberg's book.

If I "want to be taken seriously," it is because of what I say, not because a have a string of degrees. How odd that a Leftist is promoting a Class distinction.

I have not attacked education. I too have a graduate degree, but I see no reason to speak about it. Having one is not the same as having a felony on your record, but it is nothing to boast about.

Reply to Wolfgangus:

I can only says thanks for showing that high-level comedy writing is possible even during the Hollywood writers' strike. You are living-proof why everyone hates Human Resources.

Reply to Bjkeefe:

You said that I was "someone who thinks ignorance is something to be proud of." Actually, I am quite ashamed to be exposed before my betters. Be merciful when you cane me for insolence -- or is it ignorance?

bramble
01-17-2008, 04:25 PM
The title of the book, for which Goldberg was excoriated, was not his fault, but was taken from a speech by H. G. Wells, a prominent intellectual at the time. Wells was using the term favorably, as an example of what needed to be done. He wanted a liberal fascism, an orderly totalitarianism.

Thing is, right-wing intellectuals of the also jumped on the fascist bandwagon for a time, too. Erza Pound is the most notorious example, but also see Wyndham Lewis's The Art of Being Ruled (http://www.gingkopress.com/_cata/_lite/wl-artru.htm).

Remember that after WWI, the idea that classical liberalism and democracy had failed was in the air. Fascism was a shiny new alternative, so intellectuals on both the left and the right gave it some face time. Goldberg does not argue that statism has totalitarian tendencies, because that argument is old hat (cf. The Road to Serfdom). He argues that since some liberals gave fascism some face time and some fascists gave socialism some face time (i.e., Il Duce) and both fascism and socialism are generally statist and modern-day conservatism is not (except G.W. Bush and most of the Republican conservatives in Congress, but never mind these pesky details), then liberalism and fascism are kindred cousins, two sides of the same coin. Can't you see the con game here?

jmcnulty
01-17-2008, 05:28 PM
I still do not see the con game. Michael Ledeen generally praises the book, although he does point out the problem of failing to note that populism is a phenomenon of both the Left and the Right. This is a telling criticism, especially coming from a figure of the Right like Ledeen. It is more telling than anything appearing in the Clinton house organ, The American Prospect.

Was there any conceiveable expectation that The American Prospect would give this book a favorable review? I think that it is true that the impulse for all the 20th Century's totaltarian ideologies (communism, fascism, socialism) can be traced back to the French Revolution.

Don't bring up George Bush. I think that most conservatives washed their hands of him with the Harriet Miers nomination and the proposed Dubai port deal. If I hear the phrase "compassionate conservative" again, I think that I will be sick. If real "compassion" is what you want, why not vote for Obama?

At least Michael Ledeen and The American Prospect reviewer give evidence of having read the book, which puts them ahead of most commenters at Bloggingheads.tv.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 05:53 PM
However, there's not a reason in the world to believe that somebody with a PhD has a lick of insight or even common sense in areas outside his/her expertise.

Actually there is plenty of reason to believe it; somebody with a PhD has both a natural talent for solving problems and has been trained in solving problems, interpreting data, and coming to conclusions that other very intelligent people endorse. Only an idiot, or emotional cripple, would prefer the opinion of a high school dropout, which seems to be what you suggest.

In fact, the business people I know that ride herd on PhDs suggest that they have the emotions and judgment of junior high school girls.

I've been involved in the upper echelons of business for 25 years, first as a junior sub-contractor but in later years as principle project manager and division manager. This characterization is ridiculous. PhDs are less emotional and more willing to delay gratification for years in order to obtain solid results and better able to work with others than anybody else on the planet. There is a reason most papers are collaborations, PhDs learn to work as a team without anybody having to be in charge. If they get emotional at all, it is due to frustration at the refusal of managers to understand complexity, and that frustration is driven by the PhDs greater insight into the problems that a lack of understanding will create downstream. But overall, PhDs are much more likely to be able to integrate information from outside their specialty and still arrive at workable solutions, such as marketing pressures, financial pressures, competitive pressures, legal pressures, deadlines and more. You are spewing false stereotypes of PhDs as being masters of some tiny field; in fact to become a PhD you must demonstrate a command of your entire field (the qualifiers) and an ability to master several diverse disciplines within it, and that ability translates into an ability to learn everything there is to know in other fields and incorporate those constraints into your niche. I've seen PhDs in Electrical Engineering weigh in on marketing to positive effect, and as a mathematician and computer scientist, I have written the copy for the most successful ads ever run for a company that happened to lose it's marketing manager and in a tight spot. I am the author of my university's undergraduate and graduate brochures. A CS PhD is the photographer for them.

Also, the unpleasant social reality is that somebody with a graduate degree in some geeky subject from a no-name state college has nowhere near the prestige of somebody with an Ivy League Bachelor's degree.

That isn't true; there are nuances of prestige based on the school, but an accredited PhD trumps an Ivy League Bachelor's any day. An accredited PhD can teach at the university level, a bachelor's cannot.

I also think you're mistaken about the expertise conferred by an MBA and about the lack of intellectuality in law.


I didn't say there is less intellectuality in law, I said salary is much less determined by intellectuality, and that is a fact. In law the salaries are skewed by class action lawsuits, it matters less how good a lawyer you are and more how good a marketer you are, both for attracting cases in the first place and selling your case to a jury.

You're not going to remind us of your academic credentials?

I see no need, I will let the argument stand on its own. Either you can see it or you are too dim to argue with; if you (or anybody) is only convinced by my credentials then I win for the wrong reason. I will quote my credentials when my experience in getting them becomes relevant to the argument.

bjkeefe
01-17-2008, 05:53 PM
jmcnulty:

Reply to Bjkeefe:

You said that I was "someone who thinks ignorance is something to be proud of." Actually, I am quite ashamed to be exposed before my betters. Be merciful when you cane me for insolence -- or is it ignorance?

Well, if you're not proud to be ignorant, good. I'm sorry if I misread your comment, but it sure sounded that way.

jmcnulty
01-17-2008, 06:16 PM
I think that you should give your speech the next time Obama or Hillary are giving one of their heart-rending addresses about "the poor." We ought to have a program to give intellectuals like you multiiple votes -- maybe five. The problem is that this would partially disenfranchise "the poor." But maybe they would not mind when it was explained to them that the really important decisions were being made exclusively by people with Ivy League Ph.D.'s, who are "less emotional and more willing to delay gratification for years in order to obtain solid results and better able to work with others than anybody else on the planet." I really like it, an aristocracy founded on advanced education. This brings to mind the crack by William F. Buckley that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. Keep up the great stuff.

cragger
01-17-2008, 07:45 PM
Is Jonah stupid? Do you know more about him than any other random BHTV viewer or is this just a troll? Ok, being another bored idiot stuck behind a keyboard on a cold winter night, I'll bite.

Never having met the man, the average viewer probably thinks that if he isn't in fact stupid, he does an excellent job of coming across as such on BHTV. In his last episode, he got very indignant at the suggestion that there are parallels between trends in current American politics and the drift into facism in Germany during the 30's. His main response was "nobody is beating and killing Jews here". Whether he conflates facism and anti-Semitism since the Nazis practiced both, or simply thinks everything else about facism is just peachy, that's a pretty fatuous response.

Jonah then went on to list various "Bad Things" that have been done by the US government during our history and based on them, claimed that any current "Bad Things" don't matter. Everything will just magically turn out all right in the end. Again, a response that I suspect most folks, including this writer however great my own mental challenges, find pretty stupid.

He then went from the argument that lots of bad things have been done here to a complete reversal, and wrapped up the diavlog by claiming that nothing really bad could happen here because "Americans are good people". Now you may see this as an intellectual somersault of true brilliance, but both the contradiction and sheer silliness of the claim are, well, really stupid.

Anyuser
01-17-2008, 08:22 PM
Actually there is plenty of reason to believe it; somebody with a PhD has both a natural talent for solving problems and has been trained in solving problems, interpreting data, and coming to conclusions that other very intelligent people endorse.
Really? You think a French Lit PhD would naturally have good ideas how to, say, get out of Iraq, or make Medicare solvent? I would think that some of the largest congretations of PhDs are to be found on college campuses, and there's not a more foolish group of buffoons than college professors.
Only an idiot, or emotional cripple, would prefer the opinion of a high school dropout, which seems to be what you suggest.
Which would I be: the idiot or the emotional cripple? Did I really suggest that I prefer the opinion of a high school dropout?
There is a reason most papers are collaborations, PhDs learn to work as a team without anybody having to be in charge.
Do you know any MDs or biology PhDs that publish? You wouldn't imagine the hot, smelly dog fight over the order of the authors' names.
I didn't say there is less intellectuality in law, I said salary is much less determined by intellectuality, and that is a fact. In law the salaries are skewed by class action lawsuits, it matters less how good a lawyer you are and more how good a marketer you are, both for attracting cases in the first place and selling your case to a jury.
A fact? You're describing a plaintiff's tort lawyer. What about law firm partners and associates? Doesn't their income count?
. . . I will let the argument stand on its own. Either you can see it or you are too dim to argue with . . . . I will quote my credentials when my experience in getting them becomes relevant to the argument.
Wolfgangus, you've been whacking me and others over the head with how smart you are and how comparatively dumb we are by virtue of your credentials, per se. They're entirely relevant. Got something to hide?

TwinSwords
01-17-2008, 09:20 PM
Rather amusing interview aired last night on Comedy Central:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=147884&title=jonah-goldberg

Questions for the BHTV Commentariate:

(1) Does anyone know where we can find the actual text of HG Wells' speech about "liberal fascism"? Given their track record, I have to assume Jonah is lying about it and mischaracterizing it. Until I see it for myself, I refuse to believe Wells said anything remotely resembling Goldberg's characterization.


(2) In the interview with Jon Stewart, Goldberg claims that Hillary Clinton has said that "we have to move beyond the idea that there's any such thing as anybody else's child." This again sounds like a grotesque distortion. Does anybody know what Hillary actually said, or better yet, have the actual text?


Given a chance to defend his book in this interview, Jonah was unable to say anything that was even remotely persuasive. His strongest case for "liberal fascism" was that Hillary Clinton once proposed putting public service announcments in the lobbies of the DMV. Ooooh, scary!

osmium
01-17-2008, 09:34 PM
Really? You think a French Lit PhD would naturally have good ideas how to, say, get out of Iraq, or make Medicare solvent? I would think that some of the largest congretations of PhDs are to be found on college campuses, and there's not a more foolish group of buffoons than college professors.

you're right to make sweeping generalizations about people simply because they enjoyed working at something enough to get an advanced degree in it. no one should try to be like albert einstein. rather, they should just give up and watch tv instead.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 11:35 PM
You think a French Lit PhD would naturally have good ideas how to, say, get out of Iraq, or make Medicare solvent?

I think a French Literature PhD would have a better idea of how to research a solution to Medicare or Iraq, and a better understanding of critique and logic and structure, than the average American high school graduate. I am not saying s/he would be my first choice for such tasks, my first choice for Iraq might be a team of PhDs in history, politics and psychology, perhaps in religion, all with records of publication on the Middle East. For Medicare I'd like PhDs in finance, politics (again), medicine, medical research, etc. But given the choice between a random non-PhD and a random PhD I'll take my chances with the PhD.

This discussion was prompted by a general attack on the worthlessness of academia, and my aim is to demonstrate that generally academic achievement at every level is highly rewarded by American society, not just in lip service but in hard spendable cash. My secondary aim is to dispense with the stereotype of PhDs as cloistered wonks expert in one narrow subject and otherwise clueless. As a generalization it is simply false; the firepower that allowed them to become PhDs in the first place lets them master more than just their chosen field. The best CEO I know is a PhD in mathematics; the most successful VP of Marketing I know holds a PhD in History. Smart is smart, and the ability to learn a system and exploit it successfully takes either smarts or luck, and I'd bet on smarts since it has the better track record (although Luck has chalked up a few wins on its scorecard). Some PhDs are famously tunnel-visioned and some are famously incompetent outside their narrow field of expertise; I don't deny that. But they are the infamous fringe, the vast majority of PhDs are sharp-thinking generalists that can develop above-average insights into any problem upon which they focus their attention.

Wolfgangus
01-17-2008, 11:47 PM
We ought to have a program to give intellectuals like you multiiple votes -- maybe five.

The extra money is enough, thank you. Intellectuals like me don't want extra votes, it goes against the core principles of democracy, which intellectuals like me believe in. Electing a person that represents you is not something I, as an intellectual, can decide for you. You might prefer somebody exactly as smart as you that doesn't really know anything about researching problems or finding solutions or making a plan that works. I think about 25% of the population still likes having Bush in office just because it makes them feel better to think that a regular guy is running the country (no matter how big a lie that is). Who am I to tell them whether they feel better or not?

Anyuser
01-17-2008, 11:51 PM
Oh please.
If you define "intellectual" as somebody with a graduate degree, then we are smarter and more worthy than you poor working stiffs. The primary determinant of becoming an intellectual is in fact IQ, which makes us "smarter", and intellectuals (PhD's) earn about four times the average working stiff, which in the eyes of society makes us worth more, i.e., more worthy.

The American job market is a classed society based on education; divided on the fault lines of degrees: Bachelors, Master's, PhD. There are many nuances of school prestige, but a PhD from an accredited university still trumps a Bachelor's from Harvard any day.
Society values intellectuals pretty highly, the salary shows it. We don't get more money for nuthin', skippy.
. . . we know from sociology that people without degrees defer routinely to people that have them. The bigger the gap, the greater the deference given. Degrees confer power, period.
But don't worry, that doesn't mean you have to join us. We have the rational capacity to cover your rationality deficit and then some. Semper Fi, dude.
Your only aim was to be a boastful, insulting prick, Aggie.

Wolfgangus
01-18-2008, 12:02 AM
Goldberg claims that Hillary Clinton has said that "we have to move beyond the idea that there's any such thing as anybody else's child."

Even if that is a quote, it can be entirely benign. I would take it as Hillary claiming, as the title of the book does, that values are instilled in children by the entire population of adults they meet, and as an adult you should view other people's children as at least partly your responsibility as well, much as you might view a nephew or niece. It is not a call to sever the bond between children and parents; it is a call to create more bonds of respect and protection and control between children and their adult neighbors. In the village, any adult can scold any child, or stop them from whatever they are doing and take them home to their mother. Village children learn that quickly and behave even when out of sight of their parents or any adults. It is a rather hopeless prescription for modern society, but I think that is the pond where Hillary was fishing.

Wolfgangus
01-18-2008, 12:07 AM
Your only aim was to be a boastful, insulting prick, Aggie.

I am a boastful insulting prick, I don't have to aim for it. It is in my DNA. Every quote of mine you put up there goes directly to my primary point: Intellectualism is rewarded by the American people, in dollars and in respect.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 08:09 AM
Thanks for the link, Twin. It's a pity they wouldn't put the whole interview up on the site. The edited version that they did show leaves it as a toss-up as to whether they took pity on Jonah and cut the most embarrassing parts out, or cherry-picked to make him look bad.

From what they did air, though, the most telling aspect to me was that he was unable to give an "elevator pitch" version of his thesis. Given that he is fairly experienced in the give and take of TV shoutfests, I found this surprising.

jmcnulty
01-18-2008, 10:15 AM
You said: "I am a boastful insulting prick, I don't have to aim for it. It is in my DNA. . . . Intellectualism is rewarded by the American people, in dollars and in respect."

AND DON'T EVER FORGET IT, YOU PEONS! I suppose.

Upon reflection, maybe having a Ph.D. is more shameful than having a felony on you record. My experience with felons is that most of them are more pleasant to talk to than Wolfgangus, in his credentialed arrogance, is to listen to. I certainly would keep my advanced degree to myself unless asked. I can understand getting one just to have your "ticket punched" and "join the union "

But maybe you enjoy being called "Dr. Wolfgangus." Just having that title makes you seem smarter.

Anyuser
01-18-2008, 12:38 PM
The guy's a provincial middle manager who thinks he's Isaiah Berlin.

Wolfgangus
01-18-2008, 01:01 PM
AND DON'T EVER FORGET IT, YOU PEONS! I suppose.

Just because you aren't smart, I don't think of you as a peon. Lest we forget, you started this with your own comment

having one of those gradiuate degrees that some here think are so important.

Which, along with your sarcastic remarks about "us poor working stiffs" and "mere journalist" and such, are obviously intended to give the clear impression that you think graduate degrees are over-rated and those that think they are not are in the minority, or in fact that the only people that think graduate degrees are important are those that have them. Nothing could be further from the truth; in the free labor market Master's degrees and PhDs are very highly valued, and in the social market they are equally respected and valued.

So I am just calling "bullshit" on your bluff. It isn't about me or my degrees as you try to imply, it is about you trying to make yourself feel good, presumably about your lack of education. As far as the "Don't You Forget It", I'd say damn straight, especially to anybody thinking of dropping out before they get their Bachelor's; the difference in their life is literally about a million dollars in today's dollars, since wages tend to track inflation and the disparity in wages is persistent (maybe growing).

This doesn't make high school graduates peons or less valued as people, it makes them less valued as workers because their jobs require less training and less problem-solving and in general less intelligence and thus they are more easily replaced. Just because their job doesn't require as much intelligence doesn't mean they are less intelligent; I had the same IQ when I was washing dishes in high school as at any later time in my life. It just means their intelligence is not what they are paid for, and thus a wider range of people can perform their job, and that competition drives down their wages.

So if you want to call them peons, feel free. I consider them equals in rights. But to deny there is a social class system in America is simply ignorant. That class system has several components, including fame and attractiveness and occupation and wealth and political stature. One of those components is educational level achieved, and it is important that people recognize how highly valued by nearly everybody that single component is, because in America it is the one thing the average person can change about themselves practically for free. My education lifted me out of the lower middle class into the upper middle class. So I am not going to let you get away with implying to anybody that it is unimportant, or only necessary to "get your ticket punched", or "admitted to the club". As John Edwards often says, I take that personally. Education isn't just a formality; if it was the free market would discount it quite heavily and that does not happen. For other things that ARE just a formality the free market quickly discounts them to about the level of their cost, and education still pays off at very high multiples of its relatively low cost. That is because it adds real value by providing real training and certification (or verification) of skill and ability.

jmcnulty
01-18-2008, 01:46 PM
You said: "[Y]our sarcastic remarks about "us poor working stiffs" and "mere journalist" and such, are obviously intended to give the clear impression that you think graduate degrees are over-rated.

No, I did not mean to give you that impression. I have a graduate degree. I know that graduate degrees are over-rated, although perhaps not in the economic way you mention. How could you not spend more than five minutes with graduate students -- most of who are arrogant poseurs or hollow careerists -- and not know that graduate degees are over-rated? Would you really want to select your friends from this population?[

You said: "As John Edwards often says, I take that personally."

Congradulations. John Edwards, who says that his greatest personal fault is that he becomes angry when faced with social injustice, is the perfect authority for your remarks. He probably fits right in with the graduate school crowd, especially in Chapel Hill, where he spent millions on his "poverty institute" (actually, a place to perch while he prepared to run for President).

Wolfgangus
01-18-2008, 03:31 PM
How could you not spend more than five minutes with graduate students -- most of who are arrogant poseurs or hollow careerists -- and not know that graduate degees are over-rated?

I have spent many years with graduate students, and in particular the "hollow careerists", and I seldom thought their degrees were over-rated. Although I admit that in the last 20 years or so I have had far more selective control over which graduate degreed people I associated with. What is this "hollow" thing? You seem to think making a career out of being smart, creative and solving problems is somehow to be denigrated. Or perhaps you object to the idea of them getting a fair share of the pie as they make millions or billions for their respective corporations. Or perhaps you just read too much into having a graduate degree and think they should have to do more for the money they earn. Who is it that you think is over-rating the graduate degrees? The people that pay them more, or the people that respect them more?

jmcnulty
01-18-2008, 04:12 PM
Look, perhaps they perform valuable services for corporations, rather than just being "overhead." but a graduate degree means nothing when it comes to comments or insights here. Each comment is judged on its own, its validity nnot based on the commenter's credentials. Advanced degrees should earn you nothing here. Are you arguing for some special deference for those with advanced degrees, that they represent some sort of aristocracy based on merit, not birth?

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 04:22 PM
Look, perhaps they perform valuable services for corporations, rather than just being "overhead." but a graduate degree means nothing when it comes to comments or insights here. Each comment is judged on its own, its validity nnot based on the commenter's credentials. Advanced degrees should earn you nothing here. Are you arguing for some special deference for those with advanced degrees, that they represent some sort of aristocracy based on merit, not birth?

I would say an advanced degree carries some weight with me in these forums, especially if it's a science degree, and the topic of debate is related to that. I am also more likely to consider the opinion of someone who has an advanced degree in, say, International Relations, if the topic is foreign policy. And, in general, the idea that someone has completed a graduate program, especially a Ph.D., makes me think that person is more likely to be able to think critically than the average non-degree holder. I'll grant it's not true 100% of the time, but the odds are certainly in favor of such a guess.

I just don't understand the rightwing mentality that so often embraces the opinions of "just regular folks" and dismisses the worth of graduate study. Is it a hangover reaction to the "best and brightest" in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations? Does it have to do with the correlation between being conservative and being religious? Whatever it is, it's irritating.

jmcnulty
01-18-2008, 05:19 PM
By all means, let's have "rule by experts." Let some sociology Ph.D's decide all issues regarding our society. Let's form "panels" at seminars with CLE credit and decide all issues by consensus. Philosophy Ph.D.'s can tell us what to believe. English Ph.D.'s can tell us what arguments we can make. I am glad that you brought up the "best and brightest" and Vietnam. That really turned out well. We got a fine monument out of it. That's really a good idea. Let Ph.D's in the Pentagon and consulting firms decide upon the targets for the military. Business Ph.D's can run the economy. Why should we let ignoramuses vote? It makes no sense to allow them to cast an uninformed vote. Maybe we should have a "literacy test." No, I guess that will push too many buttons. But our attachment to "democracy" is sentimental and irrational. Once we explain that Ph.D's are making the decusions, "the poor" will understand that they are better off in a state administered by "experts" who are so much smarter than mere high school graduates. Right? In fact, why should we allow mere polititians run for President when their only real qualification is that they have been re-elected for years. On that basis, I guess that we all have to vote for Hillary since she has an Ivy League law degree and Bill went to Oxford. I think only Ivy League Ph.D's should be allowed to run for high office. Maybe high school graduates could run for Congress, people with bachelor's degrees could run for Senate, and only Ph.D's could run for President. It seems to me that a rational state, administered by experts credentialed by the finest universities, would be an excellent solution. I think Dr. Wolfgangus should be our first President under the new, and better, dispensation. There's a man who really knows the "value" of a Ph.D. He has the figures.

Wolfgangus
01-18-2008, 05:24 PM
Look, perhaps they perform valuable services for corporations, rather than just being "overhead."

Of course they do, and the value of their service is reflected in their pay, exactly as is the value of the graduate degreed personnel. It is a mostly free market system; with only a few quibbles about minimum wages and taxes and worker safety. But such overhead aside, they are not "overhead" at all. The corporation could not survive without them. We really do need somebody emptying the trash, somebody making travel arrangements, somebody doing data entry for the accounting package and somebody getting shipments together. Do not mistake "necessary" for "important", however; and I give that advice even to PhDs. The higher the wage the less it applies, but it is a very rare employee indeed that is not expendable.

a graduate degree means nothing [...] advanced degrees should earn you nothing here.

It means nothing to you. But I'm willing to be judged without my degrees. If they should earn me nothing here, then it can't hurt mentioning them when the topic includes my areas of expertise, such as mathematics or statistics or artificial intelligence or computer science. I suggest you let others judge for themselves whether my comments reflect my training or not. Why should your claim that it makes no difference trump my claim that it does?

Are you arguing for some special deference for those with advanced degrees, that they represent some sort of aristocracy based on merit, not birth?

I am not arguing for it, I am stating it exists. That is an amoral statement of fact, I do not need to judge this state of affairs as good or bad, it just exists in the real world. Does Hardball go to the nearest law firm to get an opinion on a legal case? No, they go to the Dean of a famous law school. They do that because the millions of viewers watching Hardball trust a top doctor of jurisprudence more than they trust some random lawyer that learned just enough to pass the bar.

The USA is, in large part, a meritocracy in which anybody can rise to the top of society based on performance, in a myriad of fields. Advanced degrees from accredited universities represent proof of committment and an ability to see things through successfully. They act as proof that you can think, can be trained to solve problems correctly, and can work to meet deadlines under pressure to get your projects done to the satisfaction of neutral expert observers (your professors and reviewers). IMO this is why the degree is valuable; it documents completing a process that not all people have the personality or basic hardware needed to survive.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 05:55 PM
Again with your black and white inanity, JM. I am not advocating anything nearly as absolute as you suggest in your caricature.

However, there is a lot to be said for having experts in important offices, as a moment of recalling the last few years of FEMA, the science advisory apparatus, and the Iraq Occupation should make clear. Maybe even to you.

There is also a lot to be said for the very real consequences of dumb people voting for other dumb people, out of fear of smart people. Again, I point you to the last seven years.

To that end, I will state that I would favor, in principle, a system where the ignoramuses' votes count for less, but I acknowledge the impossibility of constructing such a system that would be at all legitimate. We're stuck with democracy as the "worst form of government, except for all the others" until we have an Einstein of political science burst upon the scene.

Anyuser
01-18-2008, 06:08 PM
Does Hardball go to the nearest law firm to get an opinion on a legal case? No, they go to the Dean of a famous law school. They do that because the millions of viewers watching Hardball trust a top doctor of jurisprudence more than they trust some random lawyer that learned just enough to pass the bar.

This kind of comment demonstrates what a yokel you are. First, you take television show like Hardball seriously. Second, you think think a law school dean is "a top doctor of jurisprudence." Third, you imply that a "top doctor of jurisprudence" at a law school has more legal expertise than a practicing attorney. You don't know jack about legal expertise, haven't the first idea how to assess legal expertise (Hardball!), yet you don't hesitate to pontificate on the topic.

Anyuser
01-18-2008, 06:36 PM
Douglas Feith graduated from Harvard and got a JD from Georgetown. Paul Wolfowitz graduated from Cornell and got a PhD from the University of Chicago. Condi Rice got a PhD from the Graduate School of International Studies and was a tenured full professor at Stanford. George W Bush has an MBA from Harvard. None of these people are stupid (well, maybe W), all of these people have advanced degrees, all of these people are disastrous fuck-ups. Also, I seriously doubt anybody of rank in Bush's science bureaucracy is without an advanced degree, yet they're disastrous to public policy. Having an advanced degree correlates with intelligence (although as Wolfgangus demonstrates, this isn't always the case), and intelligence correlates with social success. This statement of the obvious is no more than the Bell Curve thesis, which, if memory serves, you and Wolfgangus had some trouble understanding. However, intelligence does not correlate with correctness of social policy or political competence.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 06:46 PM
Anyuser:

Citing a few counterexamples does not, in any way, disprove a claim that makes a statement involving the words "most" or "tends to" or "is more likely to."

Throwing the Bell Curve nonsense in there is just stupid. The thesis of that book had to do with innate intelligence, not education. You're not really trying to have a serious debate, are you? You're just throwing out random bits of flamethrower language in the hope that something sticks. Ain't buyin' it.

jmcnulty
01-18-2008, 07:01 PM
Reply to Wolfgangus:

I did not realize that you we making an appeal to authority -- that someone should defer to your superior wisdom because some university gave you a graduate degree.

You asked: "Does Hardball go to the nearest law firm to get an opinion on a legal case?. No, they go to the Dean of a famous law school."

You mean that Hardball gets legal advice before giving an opinion of a legal case? Boy, you are smart because I never realized that they did. I guess that I was distracted by all the screaming on Hardball.

You said: "[M]illions of viewers watching Hardball trust a top doctor of jurisprudence more than they trust some random lawyer that learned just enough to pass the bar."

You mean like Hillary Clinton? I understand that she flagged the bar exam when she first took it.

I really like your comment about those in our society who lack the "basic hardware needed to survive." That phrase could replace "the homeless" and "the poor," although it is not as catchy for bumper stickers. Maybe "the homeless" and "the poor" will understand that the phrase was developed by someone who was "trained to solve problems correctly, and can work to meet deadlines under pressure to get . . . projects done to the saitisfaction of neutral expert observers" including professors and reviewers

Response to Bjkeefe:

I am sure you relaize that I was being facetious. But I bet your opinions on voting really go over big at the local Democratic Party meeting. Do you admit them? Have you cleared them with the Rev. Al Sharpton? I have heard of holding caucuses in casinos, but your opinions go beyond that. I guess it is okay to let the uneducated vote as long as you can manupulate their opinions. The Clintons are masters of this, but this year they face a black candidate who could win.

Anyuser
01-18-2008, 07:02 PM
Where do the words "most" or "tends to" or "is more likely to" appear in your comment? How is your comment limited to education and not innate intelligence? "There is also a lot to be said for the very real consequences of dumb people voting for other dumb people, out of fear of smart people. Again, I point you to the last seven years." And you call me a flamethrower? Talk about inanity. Reducing complex policy issues to smart guys vs. dumb guys is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 07:27 PM
Anyuser:

Where do the words "most" or "tends to" or "is more likely to" appear in your comment?

Sorry for not making myself clear. I was speaking in support of Wolf's overall argument.

Reducing complex policy issues to smart guys vs. dumb guys ...

I apologize if you were offended by a slight hyperbole, but there is no denying that a huge part of Bush's base consists of people who are instinctively repulsed by "coastal elites" and "Ivy Leaguers," and who voted for Bush because he "seemed like the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with" or because "he's a man of faith." I'll grant that some smart people voted for Bush for other reasons, but my slight over-generalization is only that: slight.

... is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.

Now who's indulging in hyperbole? Or, if this really is the stupidest thing you ever heard of, you really should count yourself lucky. Or get out more.

Wolfgangus
01-19-2008, 10:05 AM
Like it or not (and I do) Hardball has a significant market share, and the audience is America. Perhaps I can process information faster than you; the shouting and interjections do not bother me because I anticipate them and understand the motivations for each one of them; it is a contest to get ideas and propaganda out and call bullshit on the opponents propaganda, and the way politics work sometimes you have to interrupt or shout because the propagandist will consume the entire segment if nobody stops them.

It seems you are the one being elitist, sniffing at popular television, when we are talking about whether society values higher learning.

My "survival" was survival of the graduate process and getting a PhD. I am personally acquainted with more than my fair share of homeless, and I have yet to meet one that has the personality or mind to become a PhD. They can out-survive me on the street, but they couldn't pass a graduate class to save their life. Literally.

I am not appealing to authority, I am making the common sense and scientific decision to hire and/or trust the guy that can prove he has spent a significant portion of his life being trained and guided by other experts to solve problems like mine successfully. That is the graduate student. The evidence is his grades, his recommendations from his professors, his thesis and other publications, if any. This is not an appeal to authority at all, it is an appeal to documented evidence. The PhD is just the embodiment of that evidence; it is not just a title, it is the tangible proof of experience and work at the highest levels of the field.

And unlike you, the average citizen understands that.

jmcnulty
01-19-2008, 01:53 PM
The last time that I noticed. Hardball's audience was about a third of The O'Rielly Factor. Are you arguing that one is more significant that the other because of the popular ratings? Surely, that is a new approach on Bloggingheads.tv.

With respect to authority, your argument is that you are not making an appeal to authority, you are making an "appeal to documented evidence." So you are making an appeal to authority -- that lesser mortals (without graduate degees) should defer to your superior education.

I think that graduate degree admission should not be awarded on "merit" -- thus penalizing those from deprived backgrounds who did not have parent to make them study (rather than shoot baskets) -- but instead by lot in the name of equal opportunity. Why should you -- just because you were lucky enough to go to a prep school or a high school where higher mathematics were taught -- get a leg up in society when other, perhaps with just a much potential, are shuttled off into deadend jobs where they will be subject to corporate "downsizing" or "globalization" by Republican CEO's.

If these students are unable to do the work, this will be clear soon enough -- after a couple of semesters -- and they can be replaced by other students. But at least they will have had a chance to climb out of poverty and achieve a middle-class life. And if they succeed, just think of the insights they iwill be able to bring to the hermetic world of corporate middle management, not to mention greater racial, class, and gender diversity. We could have corporate governance that "looks like America."

You said, "The evidence is his grades, his recommendations from his professors, his thesis and other publications." I really should ask more questions when I get advice. I may have been taking advice from people with poor grades in graduate school, weak professorial recommendations, a plagarized thesis, or shoddy publications. Thanks for the tip. So even if someone has a graduate degree, that is just the beginning of he inquiry.

I know that you have been acquainted with many homeless persons, but have you even really talked to one? On the outside, the homeless may well be dirty and threadbare, but on the inside, he may have meaningful insights on societal questions. In fact, he may already have a graduate degree and have just decided to walk away from soul-less servitude to the corporate behemoth for the romance of the open highway (although it makes him miss various Democratic primaries).

Even if he has no degree, you cannot discriminate against him just because he is "deprived' and never had a chance for your education because of society's prejudice against those who do their homework assignments. This is rank class-ism.

I remember the last time that I spoke to a homeless person. I approached him -- I could tell that he was wary because of my corporate briefcase -- to open a discussion of French romantic poets (assuming that he had probably read them in the original French), and he said, "You got some change?" As I though of it, his remark was profound. What "change" in my life did I really "have"? What "change" was I making in the corporate structure? Was I being, as Hillary says, "an agent of change"? Instead of a dull, middle-class life with a mortgage and 2.5 children, I was making no "change" in society, but instead difting along on the conventional tide. I decided at that moment to leave my sterotypical corporate job and become homeless (knowing that it would bring me closer to "real life").

My wife and children were a problem, but they were young and adaptable and would find some way to support themselves. There was always "pulblic assistance." After all, what I wanted was more important and more "authentic."

If you had talked sincerely with a homeless person, you too might have decided to heed the call of the wild.

Wolfgangus
01-19-2008, 03:07 PM
Why should you -- just because you were lucky enough to go to a prep school or a high school where higher mathematics were taught

Ha! Have I mentioned that I worked my way through high school washing dishes at minimum wage for two years, paying my own rent and buying my own food?

I wish I had attended prep school. I attended a good public high school for farmers in Illinois. My father was a bartender and my mother was a waitress, in a family of seven kids, and I was on my own at 16. I joined the military at 18 as an enlisted grunt, served my two years and went to college on the GI bill.

I know that you have been acquainted with many homeless persons, but have you even really talked to one?

At lengths you cannot imagine. My sister is a drug addict and usually homeless by choice. (By choice because my mother has an open house policy for all her kids, grand-kids and great-grandkids; there is always a place for her to stay and meals for her to eat. But my sister's boyfriends are not allowed in the house for any reason, even to use the restroom, so she prefers to sleep under the bridges if it isn't winter, and usually finds some abandoned building in winter.)

Your lottery idea is ridiculous. Should professional sports teams be required to recruit players based on the lottery, with no regard to merit? Academia is a competition like any other pursuit in life. If some people are left out because they got screwed early in life, that is a tragedy that should be corrected, but it doesn't mean they should get to skip the prerequisites. That just screws somebody that is better prepared than they are; it makes no sense to correct one wrong with another wrong.

jmcnulty
01-19-2008, 03:30 PM
Obviously, I have not convinced a sober, thougthful person like you with my modest proposal. I would only point out that even though you may have worked you way through school, you had many advantages in life in having loving, if uneducated, parents. Some people have noparents or maybe one or malybe one and a half (in Muslim countries). I am sure that your parents are very proud of you and your accomplishments and your superiority over so many in what you have accomplished. Perhaps you are right, and graduate school entry should NOT be done by lot. Perhaps it should be allocated according to race, class, and gender, so that we could make sure that everyone gets their chance -- a sort of affirmative action for Ph.D.'s. Perhaps we should consult the inimitable Bjkeefe?

Wolfgangus
01-19-2008, 04:48 PM
A lot of people were (and are) worse off than I ever was. I would not engage in affirmative action, however. I would not give blacks PhDs for being black, which is what any preference for race is doing. I would not give the poor a PhD for being poor. It is admirable if they overcome hardship to get into graduate school; but hardship is not education and it is not achievement of academic excellence, in virtually all cases hardship is just something somebody endured, and we have sympathy and empathy for them, but that doesn't make the victims any better prepared or qualified to study. Entrance to college should be a pure competition. There is a finite capacity, and it should be awarded on the basis of academic excellence, not on the basis of uncontrollable circumstance.

What I would do, were I in charge, is about quadruple the amount of money our country devotes to education per student. I would implement a real no child left behind program, that funds tutors, more teachers, more equipment and more trained psychologists. Even though it was not done for me by my parents or the state, I would fund the dormitory-style care and feeding of anybody that wants to go to college for as long as they want to go to college and are maintaining a C average or better; even for life. I would make state colleges free, and build as many as needed to meet capacity. For anybody that suffered bad schools, I would provide the tutors and remedial classes to fix the problem free. The majority of people get bored with college and leave for the real world. They don't stop going because of financial problems, they stop going because they reached their capacity for learning. So I doubt my program costs much; but it would take as many people that wanted the life as far as they want to go in it.

jmcnulty
01-19-2008, 06:03 PM
Excellent. You said that your program would "take as many people that wanted the life as far as they want to go in it." I have always wanted to be a CEO, and perhaps this would make it possible. I have always liked those little corporate jets. Could degrees be awarded retroactively?

I see one problem. Depending upon mere "academic excellence" for graduate admissions is just another term for racial, class-ist and sexist discrimination. Why should I be denied an opportunity just because I did not get good grades? Maybe there were reasons for it -- like my parents never read to me at bedtime because they were always too busy watching the lottery drawing on television. Shouldn't there be some consideration for the reading-deprived-because-of-lottery-drawings children? There are more of us than you might think. Why should different races and genders get all the consideration? I have been a loyal Democratic voter all my life. Now, I think it is my turn.

We must get beyond this "hang-up" about so-called academic excellence. Think of what we are depriving the academy of -- the chance to experience the rough and seamy side of life. We also could endless homelessness by send all of them to graduate school. Those needing help would spend several years in remedial classes.

Academics are too cloistered on those green and leafy campuses that separte them from "real life." Think of what it could mean for our society, all those newly-minted black, female, and working class Ph.D.'s, who would help bring academicia (too white and too class-ist -- even the black ones) and the larger society together.

In fact, we might as well go further and award Ph.D.'s based on race, gender, and class. This woluld finally end the myth of an exclusive, mostly-white-and-male academia. Think how black students feel when they see that their professor is white. "Academic excellence" is just a slogan for race, gender and class privilege.

What are the origins of these academics? I'll bet that 90 percent of them (even the black ones) come from intact two-person families or one person families that were middle class, not working class. How can you vote Democratic knowing that the working class, battered by globalization and a profit-obsessed Wall Street, is being denied the right, regardless of "academic excellence," which is just a code word for discrimination (after all, the academics themselves decide what is "academic excellence") to its "fair share" of Ph.D.'s?

Oh, but you may say, these Ph.D.'s awarded by "goals and timetables" (not quotas) would be unqualified. That is only because of the racist, sexist, and class-ist "grading system," which marks down answers from deprived Americans just because the are "wrong" according some racist, sexist, and class-ist system of "right" and "wrong." Life experiences should be considered in grading. For example, a "deprived" student should have points awarded to his paper even though he got the so-called wrong answer.

All such students should be declared "qualifed" because of their "deprived" origins. This might be a problem for some corporate employers, based on the immoral "profit system," but should not be problem for government, institutional, or academic employers who will understand that an occasional "wrong" answer is a small price to pay for giving opportunity to someone from a historically "deprived" group.

What is most important is where you are from, not whether you have mastered some body of arcane "knowledge" and gotten the "right" answer We will never progress towards justice in our society until we get over this obsession with getting the so-called right answer.

Wouldn't you feel better about your Ph.D. knowing that scores of deserving "deprived" persons had also received one even though they might not have gotten the "right" answer on some exam? They might have worked just a hard as you did, but failed because of short comings in their childhood or because their high school was "bad."

I think that we need a system that takes account of this. Unfortunately, you do not hear Hillary or Obama talking about this for mere "political" reasons.

Anyuser
01-20-2008, 11:07 AM
Listen here: http://www.theonion.com/content/radio_news/study_uneducated_outbreeding?utm_source=slate_rss_ 1

bjkeefe
01-20-2008, 11:18 AM
The only bad news I can see from this is the possibility that you aren't aware that The Onion is satire.

Wolfgangus
01-20-2008, 12:45 PM
I have always wanted to be a CEO, and perhaps this would make it possible. I have always liked those little corporate jets. Could degrees be awarded retroactively?

You have descended into incoherency. All degrees are awarded retroactively; when you complete the work it will take a few weeks before you walk the stage. There is no age limit on being admitted to graduate school, if you want to do it now, with the goal of becoming a CEO, feel free. In fact you don't have to wait for grad school, you can become the CEO of your own legitimate corporation for about 300 bucks or so, just register with the state. They have no prerequisites either, and the paperwork can be filled out by a high school student, no lawyer required. I've done it myself to form a contracting firm and protect myself against liability. The jet is your option; feel free to buy one with the corporate dollars. Of course like all founders of corporations, acquiring dollars is something you must figure out on your own.

As for the rest of your drunk little tirade about social justice, you are just being ridiculous. Shall we demand that medical doctors have no skill? When they kill people, we can say, "Well, they didn't have a good childhood, so we won't count that."

How about actors and actresses? No talent required, it is social injustice to award money based just on acting talent. How about mutual fund managers? No skill required there; it would be unfair to judge a money manager on whether they turned a profit or not, or even lost all the money of their clients in stupid investments.

What matters is NOT who you are or where you came from, no matter how poverty stricken. That background might give you bragging rights, but it should not add points to your test scores. What makes academia egalitarian is a complete focus on one dimension of academic achievement, the ability to learn, and for the PhD, the ability to publish. The journals do not ask for your race, your age, or your gender. Papers are judged by the quality of ideas alone. Any deviation from this dimension is a corruption of the academic ideal.

If there are disenfranchised groups, such as African Americans or Women or the Poor, we don't have to explicitly recognize them in order to help them. If they are truly disenfranchised, that will be reflected in their entrance exams. We can devise exams, or series of exams, that identify the particular point at which a person's education went awry, and we can devise corrective action for that, which we shall call remedial education.

When I say "as far as they want to go", this is in the limited sense of as long as they are deemed to be making academic progress. If the homeless can make academic progress, I would house and feed them. If they are trying to scam the system, I would transfer them to other government facilities to house and feed them without taxing the resources of the university.

jmcnulty
01-20-2008, 02:15 PM
All this emphasis on "competence" (an inherently middle class trait) discriminates aganinst those who may be deficient on some created "competencecy" scale, which is just someone's opinion anyway and subject to disagreement since there is no "right" outcome. So what if a few surgeons are granted degrees without "competencecy." I am sure that smart people like you and me will be able to identify them and avoid the troublesome ones because of their death rates, complication rates, and adverse outcomes. Perhaps such people can be kept out of private practice and get limited degrees permitting them only to perform in the Public Health Service. In the meantime, at least we will have the pleasure of knowing that we have advanced hiistorically "deprived" groups. What are a few adverse outcomes compared to that? All this undue emphasis on "competence" only creates artificial scarcity, which is one of the reasons that the poor are so underserved for vital medical care. It would also bring down prices since such so-called incompetent doctors would probably charge less. So what if they occationally replace a hip when setting a broken arm is needed? The patient has still benefited from receiving hospital care. Maybe a poor person's teeth can be fixed while he is in the hospital. We should not let one little thing going wrong spoil the whole concept of bringing heathcare to historically underserved groups, an idea which is more important that the results in any ONE case. Reducing costs is an important consideration in Hillarycare, and we all know that the American people are DEMANDING free healthcare. I think the whole idea of so-called competence is going to have to be changed to "basic familiarity" if everyone is to be served.

Wolfgangus
01-21-2008, 08:22 AM
Wow, everything in this post is stupid!

All this emphasis on "competence" (an inherently middle class trait) [...]

What? How is competence "inherently middle class"? It is entirely independent of class, a person can be a competent artist and living below the poverty level, or a competent surgeon earning a million dollars a year.

[...] discriminates aganinst those who may be deficient on some created "competencecy" scale, which is just someone's opinion anyway and subject to disagreement since there is no "right" outcome.

Except when there IS a right outcome; like in bypass surgery, avoiding tax penalties, not pouring molten iron on your co-workers, calculating the amount of steel needed to keep your skyscraper from blowing over in a light breeze, or making sure your patients get the right meds so they don't die.

So what if a few surgeons are granted degrees without "competencecy." I am sure that smart people like you and me will be able to identify them and avoid the troublesome ones because of their death rates, complication rates, and adverse outcomes.

So your solution is to sacrifice a few million lives to test them in the real world, when we could have just as easily tested them in school.

Perhaps such people can be kept out of private practice and get limited degrees permitting them only to perform in the Public Health Service.

You are showing your inherent racism and bigotry, I think.

In the meantime, at least we will have the pleasure of knowing that we have advanced hiistorically "deprived" groups. What are a few adverse outcomes compared to that?

You cannot possibly be serious; the few adverse outcomes are the unnecessarily lost and ruined lives of people.

All this undue emphasis on "competence" only creates artificial scarcity,

There is nothing artificial about it, it is a true scarcity of competence!

which is one of the reasons that the poor are so underserved for vital medical care.

No it isn't, the main reason the poor are underserved is that they cannot afford it, they cannot afford the health insurance, they cannot afford the time off, they cannot afford the medicine.

It would also bring down prices since such so-called incompetent doctors would probably charge less.


They would not be "so-called", they would actually be less competent. There are better ways to bring down prices, like simply instituting a national health-care plan.

So what if they occationally replace a hip when setting a broken arm is needed? The patient has still benefited from receiving hospital care.

You are just being idiotically facetious.

I think the whole idea of so-called competence is going to have to be changed to "basic familiarity" if everyone is to be served.

Again, just idiotic blathering. You can't believe it any more than I do; you lost the argument long ago, and decided instead to just spout foolishness out of some simple-minded vanity.

bjkeefe
01-21-2008, 09:33 AM
Wolf (to jmcnulty):

... just idiotic blathering. You can't believe it any more than I do; you lost the argument long ago, and decided instead to just spout foolishness out of some simple-minded vanity.

I was wondering how long it was going to take you to realize this. It was awfully generous to attempt to debate jm on the merits, but trust me, there isn't a whole lot of evidence that this works. I can't decide whether he's as insane as he makes out, or he's just being a troll, but can't we all just ignore him?

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 09:44 AM
You overlook the fact that most of the time, there so-called incompetent doctors from "historically deprived" groups will have good outcomes most of the time. Just because they are "incompetent" does not mean that most patients will not get better anyways. The fact is that even if untreated most patients will get better over time, so what difference does it make that the doctors are "incompetent" when most patients will get better anyways if nothing is done. We could have special classes in medical school (call them "Treatment with Placebo") to teach these so-called incompetent doctors how to appear to be treating the patient, while doing nothing. When the patient gets better -- as most will -- the so-called incompetent doctors will have had a "good outcome" So the mistaken efforts of the "incompetent" doctors will have no adverse effect most of the time. Yet, most of us will feel better all of the time about giving "historically deprived" groups a chance. As long as they meet the standard of "basic familiarity," these so-called incompetent doctors will have little or no effect on adverse outcomes except in individual cases that will not effect informed people like you and me who do their due diligence.

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 11:24 AM
Why did you bring the party to an end? I thought Wolfgangus was doing so well on the "idiotic blathering" front and showing why Ph.D.'s are more able than most mere mortals. I really was not being a troll. I wear your ignoring me as a badge of honor. I do not see how you could consider me "insane" after that exhibition by Wolfgangus. I am glad that it this makes you feel so superior. There must be a class on that in graduate school. What would Harry Truman think? Just don't hand me that blather about the Democrat Party being the "party of the common man." Party of the Ph.D.'s would be more like it. You do not object to favoritism to "historically deproved" groups. You just don't want it to affect YOUR group or life.

bjkeefe
01-21-2008, 11:39 AM
jm:

An amazing collection of non sequiturs.

Wolfgangus
01-21-2008, 11:45 AM
to teach these so-called incompetent doctors how to appear to be treating the patient

So in your view all that counts is appearances and lying to the masses is perfectly acceptable as long as they don't find out. Get away with whatever you can. That seems to be a plank in the Republican Party platform.

Yet, most of us will feel better all of the time about giving "historically deprived" groups a chance.

I see, and in your self-centered, self-congratulatory and in general selfish universe, how you feel about yourself is more important than whether some people must actually die in misery to achieve your goal of self-esteem. How myopic.

We can give them a chance by eliminating the poverty in which they live. What damage is already done cannot all be undone, but some of it can, and there is nothing stopping us from halting further damage relatively quickly except greed for money and greed for power. There is no need to corrupt our standards of academic achievement in order to make up for lost opportunities. Academia is a competition like any other, albeit with a much greater impact upon society. I don't have the vertical leap to play basketball, I can't emote on screen at will, I cannot solve the Rubik's Cube in 20 seconds blindfolded (or at all). But I did do well in business and I can go toe-to-toe with the top minds in Academia, I've proven that more than once. You offer no real reason to dilute the level of competition in Academia, in fact your proposed solution is self-defeating: If academia lowers its standards the free market will respond by lowering its compensation for achieving those weaker standards proportionately, and everybody loses; the academicians that CAN achieve high standards, the employers that need the expertise and can no longer be certain they are getting it, and the customers served by an on-average less competent cadre. The only person that wins is you feeling good about yourself.

As I said before, you lost the argument and now just want to keep spouting so it doesn't look like it. The original argument was about whether society values the degrees, and they do, and now you want to argue that since you don't value them nobody else should value them and everybody should be able to get them without working too hard. You are a pathetic, useless blowhard, if you beat your dead horses anywhere near this hard in real life, the loneliness and despair you feel must be crippling. Learn to give up and move on to something more productive, it is a critical life skill.

jummy
03-24-2008, 04:15 PM
Farrell cribbed his entire dismissal of the book from Eric Alterman's non-review. Including the bit about LaRouche. The meat of Alterman's review was to describe the book as "dumb" and to compare it to some clip floating around YouTube. Nyah nyah!

So, how do we take these people seriously who wail and rend their clothes at the "intellectual scandal" of a historical review of fascism's intersections with the left while promoting Rosa Brooks, Naomi Wolf and Chris Hedges?