Sunday, November 26, 2006

More on Barack Obama and Insane Troll Logic

Two points I thought about, but forgot to include in my last post:

1) Despite my disappointment with Barack Obama's recent stance on Wal-Mart, I still think that the Democrats would be insane not to run him in 2008. When people like Steven Levitt are swooning over his eloquence, you know you're on to something. Besides, monkeys would fly out of my butt before Hillary ever won a national election. The entire religious right is convinced that she IS Satan, you don't think they'd turn out in an election?

2) What gets me about Insane Troll Logic is the fact that many of the same people who oppose the scientific madness of creationism and intelligent design on the grounds of logic then turn around and support trade unions, protectionism, and economic idiocy like rent control.

Logically, if you oppose one, you should oppose the other. Proponents of creationism receive the ridicule that they so richly deserve, yet proponents of economic creationism get a free pass. What's up with that?


Ben Casnocha said...

Love your passion.

But there's no way you can compare "economic idiocy" to the idoicy which informs creationism. Most everyone living in the rational world supports teaching evolution in science classrooms. Economic issues like the effects of Wal-Mart, whether minimum wage should be raised, and so forth, are all much more hotly disputed. There are some 80 prominent economists who have all signed a letter supporting increase in minimum wage. Wal-Mart is also not totally clear cut.

While I'm in the same aisle as you on these particular issues, you can't make it seem like only the demented are on the other side.

MJ said...

I agree with Ben here. You've been in The Valley too long, my friend. While organized labor has its flaws, it is responsible for an awful lot of what the rest of the country considers middle class. Remember, the labor agreements (pensions, health care) that are killing oldline industries (autos, steel) were insisted on by management, not labor, which preferred a national system of social insurance not tied to any one employer. Even Peter Drucker knew this was stupid (read recent Gladwell article on this).

With the pathetic education system in this country, it's not surprising that most of the workforce is not equipped to be entrepreneurs. Collective bargaining is an important counter-weight to the race-to-the-bottom inherent logic of speculator capitalism that most citizens rely on for employment. Not flawless, but not unadulterated evil.

If you mention Ayn Rand (which it feels like you're about too), I'm calling the men in the white suits... :-)

Chris said...

I do not argue that labor unions did not serve a valid and useful purpose in earlier times (or even recently, for groups such as the Mexican migrant farm workers of California). I also read about how management is responsible for the pension and healthcare mess. Nonetheless, I fail to see what shred of value unions are adding today.

As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as a successful, heavily unionized industry. Do you have a counter-example?

I won't even get into Ayn Rand...what scares me most isn't what she writes in her books, but the madness that has grown up around her legend. Yikes!

Labor unions served their purpose. They acted as an important counterweight in the days before the government regulated things like safety, etc. But as the original ideas that labor unions promoted became mainstream, they lost their reason to exist, and today act as an active drag on the economy and the well-being of their members.

T.S. said...

In life if you believe in darwin or creationism there are very few real world consequences. But economic illiteracy has huge implications for everyday life. Yet the debate over schools is always over the former.

The troll’s logic is actually consistent. One can quickly identify the darwinist aspect of this. 1)If their bad economics mess things up – 2)they have a government program to help you. A perpetual re-election cycle that becomes a life form of its own!

Foobarista said...

I also think the "creationism" discussion is rather overly polarized. There are plenty of people who think a supreme force launched the universe, or believe in the "anthropic principle", or other non-Biblical, but also non-random notions of "creation", but who may well answer a poorly-worded poll question in such a way as to be counted as evolution-opposing "creationists".

I think the flipside of the "insane troll logic" is the argument, made by many big-city leftists and techno-science types, that anyone who isn't a pure atheist is a hardcore anti-science type.

Minor Ripper said...

I gotta say, this business about Obama being a serious 2008 candidate is all a fantasy. Perhaps VP, but there is 0 chance he is our next pres. All this talk is for his book and for the media to sell newspapers (or get viewers)...

Chris said...

The struggle against economic illiteracy will be long and difficult.

When even the fundamental underlying issue of innumeracy (as pointed out by Paulos: remains, how much more difficult will it be to teach the dismal science?

Yet I do believe that progress can be made. After all, we used to believe that bloodletting was a sure cure for every may take centuries, but economics is a vertiable youngster next to big sibs like physics and biology, and still has plenty of room to grow.

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