Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coercion is the Cornerstone of Progressivism

Obama Orders Regulatory Reform

When I saw this news item, my immediate question was, "what are they up to?"  The President can't be serious.  He and his statist minions love regulations!  The bigger and more complex, the better!

Leftists love regulating the lives of others.  They get a perverse pleasure from it.  Go try to comment on your average lefty blog.  You will quickly meet up with a giddy little potentate who has her twitchy finger on the delete button, ready to scold you for your offensive rightwing hatred.

Statism and Coercion Go Hand in Hand

Progressivism is not statism, but statism is the vehicle progressives have chosen to advance their agenda.  Friedrich Hayek rightly observed that governmental grand schemes logically lead the government to become increasingly dictatorial.  It must if it is to enforce the order.   The people have got to cooperate for the schemes to work.  The grander and more numerous the government projects, the more dictatorial coercion is required...
  • Obama bars Boeing barred from expanding manufacturing to North Carolina
  • The Federal Government forces you to buy into their healthcare scheme
  • Taxpayer money is handed to Ethanol millionaires
  • Congress bans the incandescent bulb
  • In times of austerity in states, cities and private homes, a tentacular federal government stubbornly refuses to rein in programs, and instead recklessly increases spending and regulation
  • The federal government responds to acts of terrorism by treating its own citizens as criminals 
Meanwhile, the clanking, soulless federal monster has set about destroying the value of our currency and now talks of government-private sector partnerships to "get the economy working."   It didn't work in the Soviet Union and it wont work here.

Here is what will work, for indeed it has always worked since time immemorial:
Remove the roadblocks to economic activity which are taxes, regulation, barriers to trade, and cheap, unstable money.  (John Tamney - An Entirely Predictable Economic Dip)
Our Economic Emperors Have No Clothes
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admits he doesn't "have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting." He is only our latest economic emperor revealed as having no clothes.
It apparently takes a tenured Princeton economics department chairman not to understand what the average Joe knows only too well - that an $800 billion-plus stimulus that didn't stimulate on top of Washington turning the mortgage industry into a welfare program isn't something the jobs market can easily recover from.  (IBD - Fall of Economic High Priests)

So, What Would Fix It?
As economic historian Thomas Woods points out in his book on the financial crisis, "Meltdown," a few bankruptcies of too-big-to-fail firms would do more to jolt the financial sector "into being sensible and cautious instead of reckless and irresponsible than all the regulatory tinkering in the world."

A free economy doesn't need an elite of government high priests named Bernanke or Greenspan or Rubin or Summers to reach and maintain the greatness that has marked most of U.S. economic history. It needs protection from such arrogant figures.  (IBD - Fall of Economic High Priests)


LD Jackson said...

Of course they have to turn more and more to a dictatorial style of government. That's the only way they can make their system work. As you have said, they are ever ready to run someone else's life. Kind of like some of the ones who have been so against the 2nd Amendment, saying guns are evil. Funny thing is, how many of them have been found to have their own, illegal firearms? What's good for the goose, evidently isn't good for the gander.

Bunkerviller said...

The amazing thing is that they telegraph ahead what they are about, and the GOP sits on their hands. All they need to do is cut the funding to the beast, and it will wither. Now is the time with the debt ceiling vote, but dont count on them doing anything of merit.

Always On Watch said...

Regulations have the effect of higher taxes.

The GOP keeps screaming, "No tax hikes!" But I don't hear the GOP sounding the alarm about regulations.

And once regulations are in place, it is a Herculean task to get those regulations repealed.

jez said...

In my opinion, lack of financial regulation contributed to the current downturn. I think it's a mistake to blame the whole thing on Freddie and Fannie, when the issue was repackaging, deliberate obfuscation, and ratings bodies unequal to the task of unravelling the obfuscated products..

Silverfiddle said...

If the financial people themselves did not understand the complex schemes they were concocting, how can a government regulatory agency understand them in order to monitor them?

There are plenty of regulations. Dodd-Frank just added a few thousand pages, and most financial experts agree it doesn't fix too big to fail.

The real fix is simple: Take away the government safety net from the financial industry and most will put a halt to their high wire acts.

Anonymous said...

Hmm! I've posted the same comment now three times. It looks as though it's been accepted. I can see it printed out, and the it DISAPPEARS.

I wonder now if his will post?

Annoying, but it must be a glitch in the software. It couldn't be censorship -- not HERE.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Good morning, SilverFiddle!

Your headline says it all. I agree with just about everything you said, but this remark struck me as comically ironic:

"Leftists love regulating the lives of others.  They get a perverse pleasure from it.  Go try to comment on your average lefty blog.  You will quickly meet up with a giddy little potentate who has her twitchy finger on the delete button, ready to scold you for your offensive rightwing hatred."

True enough, my friend, but I have run into several so-called Conservative blogs and websites where the exact same words and conditions apply with only a few small variations.

To whit:

Go try to comment on certain right wing blogs.  You will quickly meet up with a shrill, neurotic, self-absorbed, hyper-manipulative control-freak who has her twitchy finger on the delete button, ready to scold you for your insulting comments aimed at "her commenters" [How presumptuous!] and for your offensive left wing hatred.

Dickens immortalized a certain monstrous character much given to arranging the gruesome murders of her many perceived enemies. He called her "Mme. DeFarge." The Conservative blogosphere Alas! Has at least one "Mme. DeLete" -- and I'm sure her name is Legion.

It's sad when someone pretends to champion the American Constitution, professes to love fairness, claims a fervent desire to see all sides of the issues discussed freely who then indulges capriciously in wrist-slapping, bitching, whining, and theatrically taking umbrage at select individuals whose personality she doesn't happen to find engaging.

What I most strenuously object to in situations of this kind is the application of multiple standards -- the shameless display of favoritism towards surly, aggressive, markedly-rude, gratuitously-combative individuals and the outright persecution of others who simply want to have their say.

The urge to censor, to tyrannize -- even to banish and hopefully annihilate -- is strong in all of us whenever we meet characters who rub us the wrong way. It may be a perfectly natural human impulse, but genuine Conservative-Libertarians, and true Christians do everything in their power to resist such inclinations.

Hypocrisy is always odious -- but especially so when it rears its ugly head among flamboyantly self-righteous types who fancy themselves Defenders of the Faith and Champions of All that's Right, True and Good.

The temptation to wield power capriciously and to persecute those with whom we disagree -- or more likely cannot begin to understand -- is not limited to Marxists, Liberals, Progressive, Socialists, Statists, Theocrats -- or whatever label might want to use -- it is regrettably an almost universal human failing.

Here's The Gospel According to FreeThinke:

The Love of POWER -- the desire to dominate, direct and control the way others lead their lives -- is The Root of all Evil.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and AGGRESSION are the greatest sins of all.

HYPOCRISY is the antithesis of VIRTUE.

I am very grateful to have found Western Hero to be a refuge from all those lamentable conditions, SilverFiddle. Thank you so much for providing a true Libertarian forum -- a place free from censorship, pretentiousness, manipulation and insincerity. 

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

PS: Count the frequency with which a person uses "I," "me" and "my "  -- then observe their tendency to personalize issues and claim possession.  Frequent expressions of this sort very likely reveal a childish, egocentric personality who sees other people only as objects that either satisfy or deny the person's insatiable craving for affirmation, admiration and self-gratification. - FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

"Obama bars Boeing barred from expanding manufacturing to North Carolina"

LOL! I love when conservatives complain about the Boeing deal. Boeing is the SECOND LARGEST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR. If they don't like playing by We Taxpayers' rules, then they shouldn't do business with us! Christ, they'd paid 1.6 billion dollars in fines and fees for breaking the rules already! I guess that doesn't matter when you're getting 50 bil in year in contracts!

"The Federal Government forces you to buy into their healthcare scheme"

What? You mean Medicare??? Yeah, good luck with the over-65 private insurance coverage market!!! ROTFLMAO!!!

"Taxpayer money is handed to Ethanol millionaires"

Not a progressive or liberal idea. This is a FARM STATE program - and plenty of "conservative Republicans" are onboard.

"Congress bans the incandescent bulb"

A good idea. Also, who the hell cares? Oh, that's right... whiny, crybaby conservatives who hate any and all change ever.

"In times of austerity in states, cities and private homes, a tentacular federal government stubbornly refuses to rein in programs, and instead recklessly increases spending and regulation"

Regulations have not been seriously increasing. That's just a myth. Most new spending was to help the states and people suffering from the wrecked economy the sleazy, thieving, lying Republicans left us with.

"The federal government responds to acts of terrorism by treating its own citizens as criminals"

A purely rightwing, conservative move. Progressives and liberals detest the GWOT in almost all it's ugly unamerican forms.


Anonymous said...

We must reverse the tide that has been in favor of the progressives for over a hundred years. I'm convinced that there are enough conservative thinking voters to get the job done. Our biggest hurdle to overcome is not Obama or the Democrats. It is the Republican estabkishment. It is going to take a massive effort to get the right candidates nominated let alone elected.

jez said...

"The real fix is simple: Take away the government safety net from the financial industry and most will put a halt to their high wire acts."

The real fix has to include giving the ratings agencies some balls. Perhaps take them out of competition (which always tends to relax standards, see school exam boards). Perhaps give them powers of audit. Maybe fund them so they can, not compete with the geek Goliaths the investment banks can retain, but at least hire a better class of David.

I'm envisaging something like a single, blessed ratings body with teeth -- that's the kind of regulation I'd like to see. I agree that more thousands of pages of code won't help. The investment banks' geeks will run rings around them just as easily as they have been all along.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: Spoken like a true statist lackey. It takes millions of pliant minions like you to make these statist schemes work.

Silverfiddle said...

FreeThinke: You got stuck in the spam filter. I'll have to check more often, but I usually can't from work.

Anonymous said...


You think it's a good idea to ban the incandescent light bulb? (By the way, I'm not sure that's strictly true, BUT ...) I disagree. I happen to have a houseful of the new compact fluorescent bulbs, and have found them highly satisfactory -- in most instances. HOWEVER, they haven't made a "smart" bulb yet that I could use in any of my chandeliers or various small "accent" lamps. I'm lucky to have a houseful of good 18th-century English and American antiques -- the kind of stuff that's never gone out of style -- and the atmosphere at my place requires the use of candle flame incandescent bulbs in order to look right. Well, you may not are about that, but I most emphatically do.

What you don't seem to appreciate is the loss of Freedom of Choice -- to live as we wish -- as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's God-given, unalienable rights. That freedom is guaranteed to us in the Constitution the "Progressives" -- I prefer to think of them as "TYRANNISTS" -- hate and strive to override and ignore at every turn.

If you guys remain unchecked, the Nannies you seem to adore will be telling you and everyone else what color car you must buy, what kind of window treatments you must use, what sort of cleaning fluids you must use, how many times a week you can change your underwear, and how many times a day you will be allowed to flush your damned toilet.

You WANT to live like that? FINE.

I DON'T, and my opinion should count just as much as yours. I already had a mother -- and a damned good one too. I already went to school -- and damned good schools they were. I don't friggin' NEED a friggin' government acting in loco parentis on my friggin' behalf.

Why liberal Democrats love the idea of being enslaved, I can't imagine, but they do. Their policies are causing this society to commit a slow, relentless, increasingly-painful form of suicide, man.

Wise up. Put all that energy towards full support for LIBERTY not SERVITUDE.

As for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

SPAM Filter -- MOI?

Can't think why, can you? I ain't tryin' to sell ya nothin' -- just expressing an opinion.

It took me five attempts to get that item posted, but PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF.

Thank God, I had copied it into Word -- something we all ought to make a practice of doing in case Cyberspace eats our homework -- which is a giant pain-in-the-ass when it happens.

I don't want to put you to any extra trouble on my account -- especially not when you're at work.


~ FreeThinke

Bump said...

Silver . . . The diversity of comments on your blog is fascinating. We will soon have another presidential election. The country is in serious trouble and the people that could fix it are in a dither. Amazing. The Republicans have never had such an opportunity to fix some of our political problems - yet still hesitate to welcome conservative thought to their party.

Several misguided administrations have contributed to our current problems. One of the most common elements is the national slippage of moral and ethical values, and the result is that way too many Americans have no appreciation for their own government or for American exceptionalism.

These people (including you and I) have not INSISTED on INTEGRITY in our government, and we have managed to elect representatives who have mush for principles. They are squeezed by political pressures to vote without regard for right and wrong. Lobbiests urge them to follow the money and others urge them to do what is necessary to be re-elected. We, (you and I), need to admit that our local, state and national governments have become a source of unlimited booty - and most of our representatives all to often don't represent anyone but themselves.

Even worse, they seem to have no understanding of the relentless drive of the current Obama administration to destroy the handiwork of our founders. There simply isn't anything behind their eyeballs!

Some people STILL support the Obama Administration. It's amazing. 300 years of political progress is being swept under the bus in favor of: (1) reducing individual freedoms (2) eliminating free-market capitalism, and (3) controlling all ambition, the
human desire to excel, and the rewards for work.

If the Republicans want my help they better get busy and welcome common sense conservatism into their fold. . . .

Silverfiddle said...

Wise word, Bump. I agree completely.

WomanHonorThyself said...

we need to keep fighting tooth and nail Silver.............! Hope u had a wonderful holiday my friend:)

Mark Adams said...

"You will quickly meet up with a giddy little potentate who has her twitchy finger on the delete button"
Oh I can relate to that. Happens quite often to me when I produce facts they just can't handle. :)

Anonymous said...

Way to go, bump1


~ Freethinke

liberalmann said...

Wow, one shameless lie after another in your loony Beckian post.

Ducky's here said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ducky's here said...

Washington turned the mortgage market into a welfare program?

Please explain? Washington "forced" Lehman Bros. to leverage it's lower quality paper at 50 to 1? Let's hear about it.

Washington forced Ameriquest and Countrywide to issue NO-NO mortgages? They were forced to? Please explain.

It was Washington's decision to attempt to double Fannie's stock price when they were loosing business to the unregulated mortgage venders like Countrywide? No.

Although Alan "I Love Ayn" Greenspan did have regulatory authority.

My guess is that you actually believe that the nominal default rate of regulated mortgages made under the CRA was sufficient to threaten the liquidity of our financial system.

I await a substantive reply rather than some blather about Obama being a Communist, if you have game.

Silverfiddle said...

Ah, Ducky, you and the straw man...

Washington backstopped ALL OF IT, thereby granting license to all these entities you list to gamble freely. A crash was inevitable. Heads they win, tails we lose. Your precious government at work. Feeling richer now?

Finntann said...

Hey, Duck Head...

Title 12, Chapter 46, Subchapter 1, Part B, Subpart 2, 4562.

(a) In general
The Director shall, by regulation, establish annual goals for the purchase by each enterprise of the following types of mortgages for the following categories of families:

(1) Purchase-money mortgages
A goal for purchase of conventional, conforming, single-family, purchase money mortgages financing owner-occupied housing for each of the following categories of families:

(A) Low-income families.

(B) Families that reside in low-income areas.

(C) Very low-income families.

(2) Refinancing mortgages
A goal for purchase of conventional, conforming mortgages on owner-occupied, single-family housing for low-income families that are given to pay off or prepay an existing loan secured by the same property.

Want to read more?


Why is the government setting goals for mortgages not based upon the ability to repay them?

What is the government doing when those goals aren't met?

It wasn't under Obama, it was done under Bush, and as far as I'm concerned you're all a bunch of ducking statist progressives.

Put that in your hopium pipe and smoke it.

Jersey McJones said...


Incandescent light bulbs blow out all time, start shorts and fires, and use a ton of energy. Just because we do something for a while doesn't mean we can't change. Just because incandescent bulbs are cheap to make, doesn't mean they're a good idea.

We have national standards for all sorts of things, and it's good that we do, because time and time again Americans have proven that they will needlessly do stupid, stupid things at the expense of everyone else.

It's not fair that responsible people use energy efficient technologies while idiots cling to old inefficient technologies.

Even though it's mostly through the private sector, we all have to share our power. You may pay more for your electric bill if you're stupid enough to cling to old technologies, but in the end everyone pays more, as most energy is produced from limited resources.

And do yourself a favor will ya'?...

I remember years ago reading a William F Buckley book (I forget which one at the moment) and he devoted a chapter to destroying the use of the domino theory in these sorts of rather petty debates. You are not losing your freedom. This is not some "statist" assault on your rights. This is setting a standard for a universal utility.

Grow up.


Finntann said...

Oh and to put all that legaleze in simple English for you...

The government by setting goals for the purchase of low-income and very low income mortgages, by guaranteeing their purchase by a pseudo-goverment/private entity and by not adequately backstopping and investigating the qualifications ensured a government market for high risk private investments that would not have otherwise been made, because without the goverment buying up the risk the private investors would not have accepted it.

Sure we could fix all this by spending billions more for a huge government enforcement agency to ensure that all risks were appropriately documented through a massive accounting agency...

Or we could just get government out of the mortgage finance business, but that would restrict your ability to give your constituents free money, food, shelter, and medical care in exchange for votes...now wouldn't it?

It's always easy to spend someone elses money while stroking their hair and blowing smoke up their ass...isn't it?

The first clue that we are over governed should have been:

"USC Title 12, Chapter 46, Subchapter 1, Part B, Subpart 2, 4562. (a) (1) (A)"

Silverfiddle said...

Ya know, Jersey, I've been using incandescent bulbs for over 30 years now and I've never seen on start a fire. They do admonish me, however, that the new "environmentally friendly" bulbs create a toxic hazard if improperly disposed of.

And the "fairness" issue you bring up (how many tyrannies have set sail for the happy waters of "fairness?") is settled thusly: Those who use the twisty ones pay less for their light. Voila, the free market at work.

Finntann said...

Jersey, and when compact fluorescents or LEDs put out the same spectral luminescence as the good old fashioned light bulb I'll be more than happy to buy them, until then...you are forcing me to purchase them against my will through direct government intervention.

I've always hated the blue-white light put out by fluorescents... the "daylight" fluorescents were frigging pink, and the LEDs look like someone pointing a flashlight.

The technology to replace incandescents with a functional equivalent is not there, and you are forcing that replacement through regulation.

I purchased a compact fluorescent for the light over my sink...it was white, inadequate, and gradually diminished in luminosity over time, and thank god, it finally blew. There's an incandescent back in there now.

I will not comply with your silly law, and will have oven bulbs in all my fixtures before the existing compact fluorescents. High temperature appliance bulbs are exempt from the regulation, and there is no damn law yet that says I have to put them in my oven.

How much do you want to bet some bright, no pun intended, entrepreneur starts making 39 and 151 watt bulbs?

From a historical perspective what you are arguing is for the replacement of the horse with the steam engine. At the time neither steam nor gasoline was a viable, reliable replacement for the horse. The transition occured over decades as folks realized that the new-fangled contraptions were cheaper, more reliable, and more efficient than horses, not by some government mandate.

I'm not against technological innovation and have no unfounded bias against new technology. Hell, I'd love a car that gets 100 mpg... but not if the government told me I had to buy a 100 mpg car that only had a top end of 25 mph and that doubled my commuting time. Neither would you (I'm guessing).

Peoples dislike of CFLs and LEDs have nothing to do with some neo-luddite conspiracy, it has to do with qualitative and quantitative measures that fall short, and fall short of the need for rule by government fiat.

You want to know what's screwed up about government regulation? I can accept the risk climbing onto a motorcycle, but not the same risk by climbing into a Morgan.


Jersey McJones said...

Oh, c'mon guys. You both know what I'm talking about.

As for types of lights (and annoyingly picky tastes... ;) - People get used to whatever artificial light they're presented. It's all actually not that good for you, anyway. What ya' gonna do?

We all just can't do without indoor light. And since we all - we, us, all, collectively, independently - want indoor light, then we should at least agree to utilize an efficient, universal, simple way of accomplishing it.

It's called being a "civilization."


Ducky's here said...

Turtled again , Colorado. How did Washington turn the mortgage industry into a welfare program.

Washington was laissez-faire about the whole thing. We had "I Love Ayn" Greenspan saying markets would self correct, remember? Well, they didn't.

Again, I'm quite certain you believe it was loans to minorities through the CRA that threatened the entire world financial system.

In fact, Washington was ready to let it go down until they saw how badlt the crap hit the fan when they let Lehman Bros. tank.

Ducky's here said...

Flimflam, where Countrywide and Ameriquest under any government regulation whatsoever? Quit blowing smoke.

"I Love Ayn" Greenspan has confessed that his belief that markets are necessarily self correcting was wrong. You miss that? He's the same one who said it was wrong to prosecute fraud because the market would self correct.

The market went into a free for all and we got the inevitable. Now what also happened is that the best and the brightest on Wall Street actually bet that housing prices would not drop. They put it all on the over. Now would your bookie do that? Of course not but the Wall Street dummies did and they kept it off the books.

Crooked ratings agencies. It was a perfect storm and trying to lay this on government is asinine.

Now, what was the default rate on CRA mortgages? Was it more than normal in the late 2000's? No.

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks for playing Ducky. You're obviously incapable of reading, so take your turtles and your msnbc talking points somewhere else.

Finntann cited you chapter and verse and you called names, which is what someone does when they've lost the argument.

The statist government and the vampiric banking system are in a pornographic embrace, but you want more. And the fact that you imagine this market is free speaks volumes of your economic ignorance.

I don't care what Greenspan says. A self-correcting market it one where each entity eats its own losses. We have no such thing here in the US.

Go study up and come back when you have something useful to contribute to the conversation.

Ducky's here said...

Why did the Fannie's share of the housing bond market drop from 50% to under 25% in 2003?

Doesn't seem like the government was running the show, no?

Silverfiddle said...

Pull your head out of your msnbc and go read up. Have you heard of the book Reckless Endangerment? It was written by two New York Times reporters.



You're admiration of the DC-NY sweaty embrace swings no weight here. You are defending the indefensible: Corporate Statism run amok.

Finntann said...

Ducky, your naivette is astounding.

If the government was not involved in the mortgage financial market in the first place, none of this could have happened, or if it did the cost would lay where it belongs with private investors, not taxpayers.

I will come right out and say it... if the government wasn't buying the notes, Countrywide, Ameriquest, et. al. would not have been loaning the money. Why? Because while they were more than willing to assume risk on behalf of the government, knowing they could sell it off before it collapsed, they would have been less so if it were their companies own money.

CRA is one enabler among many instituted by the government by which it assumed risk on behalf of the taxpayer. While there were certainly unethical and immoral activities going on at financial firms, they were doing it because they could, and because it was profitable to them. It was the government that enabled the behavior. How many government clerks, bureaucrats, functionaries, and manager's lost their jobs over this fiasco?

Could we fix this by hiring a few tens of thousands of government employees, tossing a few hundred billion dollars at it by establishing a more credible oversight bureaucracy? Sure...

Is that the what we want? Is that the smartest thing to do? Hell, we'd be better off if the government just lent the money in the first place... it would certainly cut down on a hell of a lot of overhead.

But that is not the function of government, at least in my mind, government is not responsible for loaning you money so you can buy a house. House? Hell, why stop there...why not government underwritten auto loans? RV, Boat, Anyone?

The meltdown happened not in spite of government involvement, but because of it. Was it because of poor people? No, the CRA just enabled the climate. I know plenty of middle and upper middle class people with more house than they can realistically afford.

As I said, if there was no government involvement in the mortgage market, the risk, and associated loss would have been absorbed by private investors where it belongs instead of taxpayers where it doesn't.

There is no such thing as too big to fail... to friendly, to supportive, and perhaps hands to deep in my pockets to let fail, but not too big to fail.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, take it easy on the Duck. He has a fair point. I don't personally believe that rating agencies are the answer to anything other than more corporatocracy, but the guy is making his point. I disagree, but he seems to be genuine. No?


Anonymous said...

It really would be a very good idea if everyone read the posts all the way through -- and understood them -- before going on the attack.

"Ignorant armies that clash by night" don't win any battles -- they just keep on eternally slashing and bashing to no constructive effect.

Just "knowing" someone just has to be wrong, because he's identified as a -- whatever -- gets us nowhere.

I think everyonehere is wrong on the lightbulb issue -- except me, of course. I already explained my position in some detail. I've been using the 'new' bulbs extensively since they first arrived on the scene. They work beautifully in most instances, but not all. We need to have many varieties available for ambient lighting.

Jersey, apparently, is not only aesthetically challenged but sympathetic in typical liberal fashion to the idea that government should be able to dictate to us in matters of TASTE as well as TECHNOLOGY.

What I think of that involves the use of several words I am too polite to use here.

Finntann, I'm sorry, but you are just as wrong as Jersey. Like all of us, you're entitled to your opinion and you should be entitled to choose not to use the "new' bulbs, but it is frankly arrogant to make a blanket condemnation of an innovation that many -- including my intensely reactionary self -- find useful, efficient, cost-effective and eminently compatible with the mellow traditional decor I've loved and lived with all my life.

We should not let politics blind us to reality. When something's good its good -- even if it emanates from the Devil.

But before the grenades start flying let me say once again that what I am arguing for is FREEDOM of CHOICE.

We need to stop trying to jam our preferences down everyone's throat and their fundament. One size never has -- and never could be made to- fit all.

Jersey's right about one thing. The lightbulb issue is petty. Matters of individual taste and preference should NEVER be subject to legislation, UNLESS they impinge on the God-given rights of others.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: He's called Ducky because he's an expert at ducking the issue and distracting everyone's attention to some weird tangent by quacking loudly.

This post is about state control of more and more aspects of our lives, and how it has wrecked the economy.

I am all for private ratings agencies like a Moody's rating banks and grading investments, although those agencies didn't see this coming.

I'm also for private banking insurance. The government needs to butt out. Barney Frank got his boyfriend a job at one of these "private" institutions. What does that tell you about government influence in the private sector?

Jersey McJones said...


I remember, almost twenty years ago now, I argued with a Columbia Doctor over healthcare reform. I warned her that HMO's would rake off the top of her profits, as opposed to lower-overhead programs like Medicare.

Years later, she came to find the same opinion. Think about it. Why would you want 1/3rd margins on healthcare - friggin' healthcare - when you could have a tenth of that???


Most Rev. Gregori said...

All I can say about government, is to paraphrase my late dad; "Everything the government touches turns to S^%T!"

Ducky's here said...

Silverfiddle, the clear error you make is assuming that government should carry the whole weight here. Sheer nonsense.

It was a group effort and this fringe right habit of blaming Barney Frank (no angel) who was just a minority member of the committee is the pure stinky cheese.

By the way, Barney was real vulnerable last election. So what does the Tea Party run? A wet behind the ears ex-marine who starts spouting supply side nonsense. Pity, I'm tired of Barney.

Ducky's here said...

For his next trick, Silverfiddle what function insurance companies are playing by taking 20 cents on the dollar of our health care costs when Medicare administration costs are a good three quarters less.

Seems that single payer has potential.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky's bloghaunting 101. When out of answers, change the subject.

The bottom line, Ducky, is that if these "brave capitalists" had to put up their own money and eat their losses, this crap would not have happened on the scale that it did.

Ducky's here said...

Finntann, Fannie did its job quite well until it was privatized (under Nixon I believe). It kind of limed along and then got they idea under Franklin Raines (sp?) that it's function was not to provide a service to the mortgage industry but to play it fast and lose and double its share price and executive bonuses.

Another private sector screw up.

Oh by the way, who was buying Countywide and Ameriquests paper? Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros. Morgan Stanley ... the late investment banking industry. Government had little to do with the junk until Franklin Raines decided to go for the big bonuses and play the game.

I love it when Libertarians walk into straight rights.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: I don't even know what that means, but you show us your ignorance by calling crony crapitalism free market capitalism.

And like all good liberals, your ability to studiously avoid the facts is admirable. Life must be wonderful in that hopium bubble.

Finntann said...

~FT, I too am advocating freedom of choice, and I am not making a blanket condemnation of CFLs. They are a wonderful innovation in fluorescent bulbs and are great in my garage, workshop, and barn.

I do not like the light they give off, and I do not want them in my house. It is a personal preference, they could store ambient light up during the day and give it off at night for free...and I still would not want them in my house.

Jersey however thinks that government, civilization, whatever... has a right to tell me what I can have in my house, and what I can spend my money on. If I want to spend a few dollars more a month running lightbulbs instead of CFLs that's my business not his and not the government.

I have no objections to the use of CFLs, if that floats your boat, fine. I do object to government meddling in markets, manufacturing, and personal choice.

I could make the counter argument that in all likelihood Jersey burns more money, electricity, and petroleum products on air conditioning than I do on lightbulbs. I don't have air conditioning either...again personal preference (and climate). But should I, or the government be able to tell Jersey not to use air conditioning because it is a wasteful extravagence and humans lived for thousands of years without it?

The erosion of freedom is not a straw man argument.

Cant have lightbulbs, cant have salt cooked in your food at a restaurant, can't have transfats, can't have toys in your happy meal, can't be offended by online pictures (new Tennessee law, bend over so Uncle Sam can check your package... the list goes on and on. How much government do we need? How much of a nanny state do we want?

Our Republic was set up with a series of checks and balances to protect us from government as well as the tyranny of the majority. We (Republican and Democrats alike) are subverting all that and government has its fingers in every pot there is.

I'm not an advocate of massive total de-regulation. An OSHA standard protecting workers from asbestos exposure is no the equivalent of a law banning lightbulbs or toys in food packages.

Seriously, think about it... what is government not getting involved in?

jez said...

"I am all for private ratings agencies"

Private ratings agencies, working in competition, trend towards relaxed standards. For the same reason that high school exam grades get "better" every year.

"if these "brave capitalists" had to put up their own money and eat their losses, this crap would not have happened"

Those "brave capitalists" frequently manage funds on behalf of clients who can't afford to loose it all, and as long as financial products are built to bamboozle the ratings bodies this problem will continue.

In short, if we're going to have risk-averse funds investing in the market rather than stuffed under the mattress (and it's highly desirable all round that those funds do get invested), we need to have ratings we can trust.

Anonymous said...

Finntann, we are not in disagreement about anything -- except the quality of ambient light given by the new compact fluorescent bulbs.

I wish you could visit my house, you might change your mind about compact fluorescent lighting -- and then again you might not. I would defend "to the death" your right to reject the new bulbs, and choose not to use them in your home just as I would defend my right to enjoy them.

To me the benefits outweigh the deficits, but I would never say you have to agree, and that's the rub.

Our friend Jersey thinks he has superior judgment to ours and should, therefore, should have the right to impose his taste and judgment on us, and obliterate our freedom of choice.

As for forcing standardization on us, I think it's outrageous that I am not allowed to maintain an outhouse in my garden, if I want to, instead of using more modern methods of disposing of human waste products.

Right now I'm hooked up to a septic tank, which is perfectly satisfactory, but I've been told that soon I will be forced to pony up several thousand dollars for the dubious "privilege" of having my street torn up and my way of life disturbed so that the City in its infinite wisdom can install and hook me up to a modern sewer system.

Failure to cooperate would inevitably result in court action, fines and penalties so severe that bankruptcy would be inevitable. So once again the power of government -- this time local -- to which I've never voluntarily consented -- gets to tell me to "stand and deliver" or "bend and spread" or effectively be put to death.

The rationale for tyranny of this sort is "protection of the environment." I'm not sure I buy that. You should have seen the magnificent melons, squash and pumpkins that grew all around Grandma's outhouse!

Shit is designed by Nature to fertilize and replenish the earth, so who are we to interfere with the process just because some pretentiously fastidious souls decided they couldn't tolerate the odor?

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: We're probably in general agreement here.

As my Daddy used to tell me, There ain't no such thing as a sure thing. Life is full of risk. Perversely, government intervention in these markets actually increased the risk, and that is my main point.

Sneaky people will always be able to hide stuff from customers and regulators. We don't need billion dollar bureaucracies. We need simple laws that say don't lie to your customers.

It's simplistic, but the bottom line is you cannot make life hazard-proof, but we can choose to stop subsidizing private greed and recklessness with government money.

jez said...

"There ain't no such thing as a sure thing. Life is full of risk."

I understand that, I just want to be able to honestly evaluate that risk, not eliminate it.

"We don't need billion dollar bureaucracies. We need simple laws that say don't lie to your customers."

Absolutely! That's exactly why I want a ratings body with power of audit.

Silverfiddle said...

Ya know Jez, sometimes I think you're just too practical to be a liberal.

jez said...

well, you're too thoughtful to be a conservative. Could be we're both wrong about liberals and conservatives. ;)