Perhaps the title of this post is a little harsh as the stupidity is not particularly profound. As a matter of fact, the stupidity that Think Progress displays in this Twitter posting from November 20th is completely common.

First off, this is what we’d call a fallacy of false dilemma. The idea that believing in hard work and individual merit and believing in inheritance rights are mutually exclusive is ridiculous on its face. But there’s a much greater ignorance at work here.

The support of hard work and individual merit is actually stems from a support of free markets, as those two principles are keys success in such an economic environment. The bedrock of the free market is property rights. The adoption of a 100% inheritance tax would, to any thinking person, be a fundamental violation of property rights, as it assumes that upon death ones property reverts to state ownership rather than as they might have chosen to divvy it up while they were alive.

Understood this way, rather than being an indication of cognitive dissonance as Think Progress suggests it is, the belief in hard work and merit actually precludes the belief in a 100% inheritance tax.

Note: Before someone else points it out; yes, I’m well aware that assuming Think Progress’s tweets are generated by something other than a rhesus monkey mashing a keyboard with his fists is dangerous.


What would an earth-shaking event be without remarks from the ivory tower’s most prolific and predictable scholar, Noam Chomsky? His recent commentary on the operation that led to the demise of Bin Laden would indicate that his once sharp critical mind has dulled considerably over the years. I would go so far as to suggest it’s incontrovertible proof that Chomsky has, in fact, been dead for some time now and that a very simple computer algorithm generates his rather boilerplate missives. His full commentary can be read here, but I’d like to draw your attention to a particularly laughable excerpt in which Chomsky addresses Geronimogate:

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

Wouldn’t naming an implement of destruction as brutal and efficient as the ones he mentions be a sign of respect for the warrior prowess of the Native American? It’s a sign that well over a hundred years after the Indian Wars and the excesses our federal government engaged in against the Native American, we, as a people, no longer see him as the simple savage that our ancestors might have.

The Jewish people and the Gypsies were treated the way they were for being, according to Nazi ideology and the popular eugenic science at the time, genetic pollutants. The Third Reich had no respect for them as a people, which led them to truncate their individual liberties to the extent that systematic extermination was viewed as ethical. They would therefore never name a weapon – something meant to command respect on the battlefield—the “Jew” or the “Gypsie” as Chomsky suggests.

However, were the modern German army to name a weapon the “Anielewicz”, after one of the primary organizers of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, it would be a sign of respect towards those they had once treated as less than human. This would indication that as a society they have adopted that struggle against Nazi excesses as a part of their common heritage, and not an adoption of a “profound imperial mentality” as Chomsky suggests.

The questions Chomsky raises in the complete piece require a more complex analysis, but that particular aspect would indicate that he believes society is incapable of progress and must remain mired in what many believe to be a dark period of its past. Contrary to being progressive, his outlook is anything but. I think it’s time for someone at MIT to update the Chomsky algorithm.

I’m always amazed at the level of ignorance our elected officials show in their interpretations of even the most simple of economic developments. Today, just as in yesteryear when the economic boogyman might have been the stocking frame knitting machine, those in power recoil in horror at labor and resource saving devices, seeing the development of such devices as a threat to jobs. The latest battle in the saga of officeholder vs. economic literacy pits Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) against the Apple iPad. This from Real Clear Politics:

“A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine,”

Gasp! The electronic media is cutting into the demand for physical books! What ever will we do?

Well, if Representative Jackson would take a moment to actually think critically, he might realize just how unfounded and silly his concern is.

The cost of an eBook is considerably cheaper than that of a physical hardcover release. For example, Tina Fey’s new book Bossypants has a list price of $26.99 at Barnes and Noble (although retail prices vary). The very same book, purchased electronically for a Barnes and Noble Nook or iPad, retails for $12.99. That difference represents a savings to the consumer (remember those people?) of $14.00. With that extra $14, the consumer can purchase more goods and services. He has his book and now he can, in addition, afford a ticket to a movie. The movie theater becomes the beneficiary of the new innovation, and the jobs that may be lost with the book seller are recovered in this other sector of the economy. The consumer has also benefitted as his purchasing power has increased, as they can now read Tina Fey’s book AND watch the latest derivative piece of crap or remake out of Hollywood.

Of course, there are far too many effects that will unfold as a result of the switch from the physical book format to the eBook to completely catalogue them here. Some of those effects will be disruptive to the economy as money shifts from sector to sector to meet new demands and realities. But one thing it will not do is eliminate jobs.

Today, The Blaze reported on an op-ed penned by former SEIU president Andy Stern. In it, Stern attacks the very mechanics of limited government. As The Blaze reported:

“American democracy has layers of power and responsibility, which James Madison rationalized in Federalist, no. 51 as a check against possible tyrannical rule,” Stern writes. “Our Founding Fathers saw fit to divide power between two strata — state and federal. Then, within the federal structure, they codified a trifurcation of power to ensure that no single branch came to dominate government; and while power has ebbed and flowed between branches, the system of checks and balances has provided stability, and kept tyrannical rule at bay.”

But today, he goes on to say, that system is just so, well, old:

Now, however, in the midst of the transformative change of globalization and this third economic revolution, those layers have become an impediment to making the changes necessary to keep America competitive in the world economy. Today, America crawls along at a snail’s pace. [Emphasis added]

This is, of course, boilerplate progressivism. The idea that society and government owe more to Darwin than to Newton, and therefore cannot be hampered by mechanical processes that might inhibit it’s ability to evolve organically, has been part of the progressive faith since some of it’s earliest writings. It has therefore been part of the progressive program for years to subvert and undermine any of these barriers, whether that means bypassing the legislature and having the Judiciary set laws, or having the legislature pass punitive judgements against classes of people (this is what they refer to as “social justice”. Notice “justice” is meted out by the law giving branch of government in the case of “social justice”.)

So why were the founders inspired to base the mechanics of our constitutional republic on the baron de Montesquieu’s tripartite system? Clearly because they weren’t as smart as Andy Stern. Or maybe Mr. Stern believes that in the time that intervened between when Montesquieu wrote about them in “On the Spirit of Laws”, all of the evils that made the enlightened thinkers averse to the concentration of power vanished. Or maybe the nature of men and power has changed. I mean look at the 20th century, clearly this recent history shows that men, entrusted with enough power, will refrain from trampling on rights and truncating individual liberties to the point of non-existence.

No, all but the first answer give Andy too much credit. It’s pretty clear that Andy thinks he and his buddies are the smartest, most enlightened, most progressive motherfuckers to ever walk God’s green earth.

Opponents of healthcare are Nazis. Tea Partiers are Klan-like. Palin is Pontius Pilate. So the right wing kills Jewish people, Blacks, AND the Christian Messiah? This narrative is as far a stretch as Palin being responsible for the AZ shootings. I’d imagine that it’s as offensive as it is rediculous to most Christians. Obviously Steve Cohen has a real problem shooting his mouth off about his political opponents.

As mentioned on today’s Wilkow Majority, now you too can own a piece of history! The Tee Shirt that marked the kickoff of the 2012 election!

This is the same reason that I’m lukewarm on the Balanced Budget Amendment. I don’t think that the amendment would truly lead to a balanced budget, but creative accounting. Put up a barrier between politicians and billions of dollars and they’ll find or invent a way around it. This from the New York Times:

No one was more critical than Representative Mark Steven Kirk when President Obama and the Democratic majority in the Congress sought passage last year of a $787 billion spending bill intended to stimulate the economy. And during his campaign for the Illinois Senate seat once held by Mr. Obama, Mr. Kirk, a Republican, boasted of his vote against “Speaker Pelosi’s trillion-dollar stimulus plan.”

Though Mr. Kirk and other Republicans thundered against pork-barrel spending and lawmakers’ practice of designating money for special projects through earmarks, they have not shied from using a less-well-known process called lettermarking to try to direct money to projects in their home districts.

Mr. Kirk, for example, sent a letter to the Department of Education dated Sept. 10, 2009, asking it to release money “needed to support students and educational programs” in a local school district. The letter was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the group Citizens Against Government Waste, which shared it with The New York Times.

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