Saturday, December 13, 2008

"The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood"

The above quotation from George Orwell is a fairly classic Leftist comment. "All men are brothers" is a cry from Leftists that goes back at least to the 19th century. I document an 1894 example of it here (just before the half-way mark in the article). And we must not forget that "fraternite" was one of the 3 aims of the French revolution.

And it all fits in very well with some remarks I made recently about the emotional importance of "connectedness" in human beings. Because of their disgruntlement with the world about them, Leftists tend to feel disconnected from their own society but do nonetheless miss that sense of connectedness badly. So they make up a fantasy (and impossible) world in which they have a superabundant amount of connectedness: A world in which all men are brothers.


Is the gingerbread man nuts?

"You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man"

Reflecting on the question "Is Blagojevic nuts?," -- retired clinical psychologist Judith Lown writes:
I read your column with particular interest this morning because it echoed a conversation I had with a friend last night. My reaction then, as to your column, is that Blago is a classic personality disorder--Axis II in the DSM, which, technically, is different from psychosis, although part of an Axis II diagnosis is a vulnerability to psychotic episodes.

The question here is reality testing and the quality and the extent of loss of reality testing. Psychotics' loss of reality testing tends to have a bizarre flavor--Martians planting radios in the brain, the next door neighbor spying on them, etc. Personality disorders' reality testing deficits tend to be more in the line of "I wish it, therefore it is, or I don't wish it, therefore it isn't." There were times during the Clinton administration when, imo, both Bill and Hill seemed to wander pretty far into that territory. My guess is that we will see some of the same when pressures get to O.

If I were Blago's attorney and wanted to use an insanity plea, I would go for the episodic psychosis, but if I were a juror, I wouldn't buy it. His behavior is, to me, just garden variety sociopathic personality disorder behavior. And in the context of the Illinois Combine, there were simply insufficient contextual signals to make him moderate it.

Former Assistant United States Attorney Bill Otis also invokes his professional experience to answer the question:
No, he's not nuts. Having been an AUSA for a long time, one thing I noticed is that normal, honest people have difficulty understanding how criminals think. (This shows up, for example, in the death penalty debates I do, where abolitionists simply don't grasp the heartlessness and cruelty that some killers display. It's simply beyond their experience).

Blago's world is merely corrupt; it's not insane. To him, a Senate seat is not a public trust, it's a commodity. It has a price, and the most efficient mechanism for determining that price is to put it on auction, which is what he did. Far from being insane, it's perfectly clear-headed -- just venal. Mortgage markets should operate as well.

There are two other factors tending to argue that Blago was thinking clearly. First, the quality of one's thinking must be measured in the environment in which it occurs. Blogo was a powerful man. His prior years of greed had gone, not merely unpunished, but rewarded, ultimately with the Governor's Mansion. It might well be mistaken, but it is hardly insane, to believe that the behaviors that got you so much for so long will continue to work.

In this respect, Blago is more than a little reminiscent of both Elilot Spitzer and John Edwards, who, although high-profile and ambitious public figures under considerable real (and even more potential) press scrutiny, nonetheless thought they could continue to chase skirts with the joyfulness (and abandon) of an anonymous Wal-Mart worker in his twenties. The cocoon of arrogance and the feel of invulnerability that comes with getting away with this stuff for years -- as Blogo, Spitzer and Edwards all did -- comes to be their environment. A person is not crazy for living in his environment and adapting his behavior to it; indeed he'd be crazy to do otherwise.

Second, the absence of insanity is strongly suggested by the large number of candidates who joined the auction and put in their bids (or at least explored what the bidding might look like). We don't know yet who all these people were, but it's a safe guess they were some powerful and prominent citizens. Are they all crazy? No. They were, like Blago, acting rationally in the environment at hand (which they did much to create, but that's another story).

Of course, sometimes rational but corrupt people get caught, and this appears to be one of them. If they were always caught, or always (or close to always) made to pay a significant price for their misdeeds, then there would be a better case for thinking them to be insane. But that's not remotely how it works -- and they know that.

It's not so much that Spitzer and Edwards will walk away from their respective scandals the multi-millionaire celebrities they were when they walked in, with a fawning (for liberals) press telling us that (a) everybody does it, or (b) to err is human, or (c) we can't be so judgmental, or (d) [fill in the blank]. It's that we (or at least they) learned from The Big One ten years ago. Bill Clinton disgraced his office, lied, and encouraged or (possibly) arranged for others to lie. He also granted at least one pardon after the pardonee's former (but still friendly) wife forked over a few hundred thousand in "contributions."

And what happened? Clinton's popularity went up, his spouse became a serious candidate for President, he's touted by the press as an elder statesman, his guy at DoJ who checked off on the pardon is about to become Attorney General, and of course Clinton himself lives a life of luxury and adulation. The world of perverse incentives that the Left labored so long to create has arrived. Is Blago nuts? Not hardly.

More here


BrookesNews Update

The country is in recession yet the commentariat still cannot spot what is wrong : If the commentariat had a grasp of basic capital theory they would be forced to conclude that directing spending to consumption will surely make matters worse because business spending is what keeps the economy afloat. Therefore an expansion in consumer spending could come at the expense of manufacturing
Happy Thanksgiving! from Fidel Castro's bomb squad : In 1962 Fidel Castro and Che Guevara planned a colossal terrorist attack on Manhattan on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Cuban agents were to use their cover as members of the Cuban mission to the United Nations to target Macy's, Gimbel's, Bloomindales and Manhattan's Grand Central Station with a dozen bombs and 1,102 pounds of trinitrotoluene (TNT). Fortunately J. Edgar Hoover's FBI cracked the plot
Labour market reform and the Liberal Party's betrayal : The Liberal Party under the leadership of the highly principled Malcolm Turnbull has declared labour market reform dead in the water. Well, no one ever lost money betting on that party's lack of principles. But what about sound economic policy
Associated Press's terrorist-linked photographer honored in NYC: Associated Press and its depraved media comrades honoured a man complicit in terrorist atrocities in Iraq. No surprise here. In Iraq Associated Press also collaborated with terrorists. This is the same bunch of vicious leftists that falsely accused President Bush of causing the subprime disaster. The one-party mainstream media really are the enemy
Bailout: The New American Business Model: When the government steps in to own banks, automakers, and more, then we lose our freedom. We must stand united and demand a conservative approach from our elected leaders. No more bailouts. No more big government. No more socialism. This is still America, isn't it?
President-elect Barack Obama will hasten America's decline : Obama has promised that he will inflict green policies on us which the facts show to be disastrously ineffectual on every level in every country affecting both our economy which conventional wisdom says it is in the most precarious state of our lifetime and our way of life
Nonsense about deflation : Given the monetary conditions now prevailing, the greater threat by far is inflation, not deflation. And contrary to what the investment 'experts', the politicians, and the mainstream economists believe, inflation is not a benign element in the economy's operation. It is a monetary cancer
I am sorry for what has happened to Americans : Most Obama supporters are sold on the idea that 'change' is needed but ignore the reality of the kind of change Obama wants for all of us. Obama's change drives us toward government control and intrusion into our lives beyond all comprehension of our founding fathers and of the governments we elected for the past two hundred years
Obama thinks he can 'jolt' the US economy out of recession. Fat chance - so tighten your seatbelts : Obama's 'economic' thinking could crush manufacturing, cause unemployment and consumer prices rise, worsen the current account deficit, and sink the dollar depreciates. So how long it will be before the public realize that the brilliant Obama really is an empty suit


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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