Monday, June 25, 2012

Inevitability of Politics?

This is a truly remarkable performance.  The mindless state worship.... the condescension, the paternalism.  Breath-taking.  Here is what self-appointed dictator of others Dorman has to say for his big finish:

The non-reflexive-libertarian view does not require a market failure or a taste for paternalism.  It sees Conditional Cash Transers as policy initiatives to shift cultural norms regarding education and health.  (And, no, trying to shift norms is no more paternalistic than choosing to not shift them.  Welcome to the inevitability of politics.)  Recipients of transfers can reasonably be asked to meet education and health conditions because child-rearing is recognized as socially necessary work, and it is equitable to pay people for it provided it is done in a way that meets societal expectations.

Okay, so it actually works as follows...(continued below the fold)

1.  The state takes money away from people who have earned it, under the assumption that they have no idea how to use it properly.  There is no such things as "government money."  There is only "money taken at gunpoint from other people," which the government then decides how to spend.

2.  The state offers to return some of that money, provided certain conditions are met.  One of those conditions is that the recipient use the money as the government wants (see #1).

3.  Those conditions are based on ideological beliefs that are not shared by the people being forced to comply.  Were this not true, then it would not have been necessary to take the money at gunpoint in the first place.

4.  All idea of an independent citizenry choosing government officials is lost.  Government officials will "choose to shift cultural norms" through a combination of indoctrination and outright extortion until voters learn to vote correctly.

That's pretty amazing.  Saying that "politics is inevitable" is quite different from saying "government should choose the norms that voters use to decide whom to elect to government."  Wouldn't it be more efficient just to skip the whole elections part altogether?  It's inconvenient, and voters are likely too stupid to be able to appreciate how smart technocrats like Dr. Dorman really are.

All that is really going on here was described by my main man, H. L. Mencken.  Two quickies:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights.


Tom said...

The reason to look for a "market failure" is that lots of people, left to themselves, are not doing what Peter Dorman thinks they should do. Note that people who earn money are not doing the "right" things with it and people just get money also need a push to do what Peter Dorman knows is best for them.

But the killer sentence in the whole bit is this: "welcome to the inevitability of politics." Pushing people is not paternalistic because Peter's only other choice is to not push them! I must now choose to kick Peter Dorman in the nuts or to not kick him. Welcome to the inevitability of Tae Kwon Do!

Max said...

I still believe that most progressives actually hold two believes essentially at the same time:

a) They believe that the poor are stupid and thus we have to prescribe the solution to them and coerce them in obey this prescription. Of course, when you discuss this with them, they concede that you are probably not part of those, who need this coercion. But not everyone can be as enlightened as you are and make the best choices for oneself.

b) At the same time they believe that we still have to take part in this and give our money, even though we could spend it much more efficiently for ourselves, because those poor people are not only incapable of making the right decisions, no, they also lack the funds to make the right decisions.

I don't like this condescension and yet it is the prime mover for most progressives. And there is nothing to persuade them that it might be otherwise. They don't hold individuals and people in general in high esteem. They believe that most are to be educated, because they are not following the enlightened path. They wouldn't describe it in just such a way, they would use different words and yet, the foundation would be the same.