Free Markets, Free People

Economic ignorance and the desire for “social justice” drives much of the left’s nonsensical arguments

I was reading something by Matt Welch at Reason and he inspired some thought about OWS and the left.

Welch takes a bit of nonsense in Salon.com called “The New Declaration of Independence” on and he cites a rather long passage from the article.   In it are these few paragraphs:

For the young, higher education was said to be a ticket to class mobility, or at least a secure career. Instead, middle-class students have taken on billions of dollars of inescapable debt during a prolonged jobs crisis. Lower-income students are blatantly ripped off by usurious scam artists working for educationally dubious for-profit schools. Even those seeking to join the professional class, through medical school or law school, find themselves with mountains of debt and dwindling job prospects. The rapidly rising cost of higher education pushes bright students into lucrative but socially destructive fields, like finance. [...]

For millions of middle-class and striving blue-collar American families, the promise of homeownership as the world’s safest investment became another money-making bubble for Wall Street that remains Main Street’s intractable mess. Those members of the middle class unfortunate enough to do as an industry of wise men counseled them and invest in the stock market and real estate have seen the fruits of a lifetime’s worth of labor evaporate in multiple busts and crashes that the wise men always escape from economically intact. [...]

It is not in the national interest to force the impoverished to become wage slaves to pay off insurmountable debts owned to payday lenders and hugely profitable bankers. [...]

Every other rich nation on earth heavily subsidizes higher education. We force mere kids to mortgage their futures, then ensure that the debt follows them the rest of their lives, regardless of their living circumstances. [...]

Even millions of homeowners who "did everything right" find themselves underwater, or illegally foreclosed upon by banks running roughshod over the rights of homeowners by robo-signing fraudulent foreclosure documents by the thousands.

Welch does a very good job of firing with all guns on this nonsense.

Which is why phrases like "wage slaves," "inescapable debt," and "force" "force" "force" leave me feeling like a brother from another planet. Adult human beings have agency, the ability (even responsibility!) to run their own cost/benefit analyses and choose accordingly. You could go to a state school (or community college) instead of an over-inflated prestige mill. You could pay for a 10-year-old car in cash, instead of a new one on installments. You could try to make it in Minneapolis before living the dream in Williamsburg. You could stare into the face of a no-money-down, adjustable rate 30-year mortgage at the tail end of a housing-price run-up and conclude "Maybe that one’s not for me." You could even choose to turn down a bad if high-paying job when you’re living below the poverty line. If we indeed live in a "candid world," let us state bluntly that offloading 100% of the blame for your own mountain of debt on a group of Greedy McBanksters who "forced" you to "play by the rules" is more than a little pathetic.

Of course, he’s entirely correct as far as he goes.  And, to his credit, he touches on the real problem. The “mountain of debt” chosen by those who have taken on such enormous debt in exchange for what many times turns out to be a useless degree costs so much because government subsidizes it through its loans.

While the choices Welch points to are an entirely reasonable response to the “woe is me, I made bad choices and want you to bail me out” crowd, that crowd still doesn’t understand that without the government, not the “greedy bankers”, higher education would be much more reasonable than it is.  Right now, colleges and universities don’t have to compete for a student’s dollars.   They simply state the price and you either pay or you don’t go.    Imagine having to compete to get those hard earned or even borrowed dollars.

So the emphasis on banks and the greedy is misplaced in the case of college loans.   If anyone is the greedy one’s it is schools.  And they’re just naturally taking advantage of the results of the government distorting the market.

And that’s not the only protest that’s misplaced.  Michael Bloomberg got in hot water yesterday for saying that the housing crisis was the fault of government.  In fact it was.

Did bankers have something to do with it?  Well yes, but it wasn’t their program and its enforcement that inspired the problem.  Bloomberg points to the real problem:

"I hear your complaints," Bloomberg said. "Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that.

"But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for."

Investors Business Daily goes into some detail about all of that, pointing out that it was indeed government enforcing government policy that led to the housing bubble.  But understanding that requires a little research:

Rewind to 1994. That year, the federal government declared war on an enemy — the racist lender — who officials claimed was to blame for differences in homeownership rate, and launched what would prove the costliest social crusade in U.S. history.

At President Clinton’s direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties.

The threat was codified in a 20-page "Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending" and entered into the Federal Register on April 15, 1994, by the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending. Clinton set up the little-known body to coordinate an unprecedented crackdown on alleged bank redlining.

The edict — completely overlooked by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the mainstream media — was signed by then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Attorney General Janet Reno, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with the heads of six other financial regulatory agencies.

"The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form," the document warned financial institutions.

Ludwig at the time stated the ruling would be used by the agencies as a fair-lending enforcement "tool," and would apply to "all lenders" — including banks and thrifts, credit unions, mortgage brokers and finance companies.

Again you have the government intruding in the market in the name of social justice and being threatened by that government to modify their practices and make bad loans.  And that’s just what they did.  The IBD chart in the article cited tells the story.  Government policy required bad loan practices be used to comply with the law.

The point, of course, is that government has most of the blame for creating the two problems that Salon.com is going on about.   And, one can only assume, it is ignorance of market dynamics or more broad ignorance of economics in general that has them using this nonsensical argument that ignores the real core of the problem.  You have to do that if your intent is to use government as the instrument of “social justice”, even when it is government coming to the “rescue” of a problem government created.

But then, that shouldn’t really come as a surprise.  What has become evident to me, in general as I watch most of the left, is that Econ 101 was never a subject that was required for a journalism degree or most other liberal arts degrees that are so favored on that side of the spectrum.  And it is ignorance (or blatant disingenuousness, take your pick) that drives such clueless arguments as that which Salon (and OWS) is pushing.  However, you have to do that if your intent is to use government as the instrument of “social justice”, even when it is government coming to the “rescue” of a problem government created.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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44 Responses to Economic ignorance and the desire for “social justice” drives much of the left’s nonsensical arguments

  • ” It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

    Right. And all those responsible, prudent bankers fought them tooth and nail. Right.

    Are there any actual data on what percentage of defaulted mortgages were given to unqualifed borrowers in minority areas? I remember reading that in 2007(?) 40% of new home sales were second homes. The next year it dropped to 30%. Think of the implications of that.

    What we have here is two (at least) guilty parties trying to put the blame on the other party. Which party is more culpable is probably a matter of personal taste.  

     

    • You’re missing the point behind the perverse incentive.  The banks would be punished for doing the right thing, not making loans to people who couldn’t pay them back and they would be rewarded for doing the wrong thing.  They did the wrong thing and got rewarded for it.  And when it went to shit they got bailed out.  The consequences for doing the right thing was negative and the consequences for doing the wrong thing was a reward.
      So what do you do as a banker?  Do the right thing, take the hit in publicity and profits, and watch your competitors run you down because they did the wrong thing and got the government cookie?  Good luck explaining to the shareholders why your bank is being called racist and is losing market share to competitors that did the government’s bidding.  If a banker didn’t take the perverse incentive then the ones that did would crush them.
       

    • I seldom take violent exception to George Will, but I did a few years ago.
      He wrote a piece in which he called house-flippers and mortgage lenders “greedy”.  It was STOOOOOOOoooooooid.
      All the actors in this thing (with a few stand-out exceptions) were acting rationally given the VASTLY distorted market.
      And people DID make a lot of money.  Which, of course, was peachy.
      But distorting markets is like loading strain in a fault-zone.  Sooner or later, equilibrium WILL assert itself.
      The same people who were all good with making money…or having their butts in a TOO-highly paid job…get all hemorrhoidal when the clock says “tick” instead of “tock”.  They want the gains, but will not eat the risks.
      And it IS NOT a banker’s job to fight the Federal government, much as you might fantasize about it.

      • “And it IS NOT a banker’s job to fight the Federal government, much as you might fantasize about it.”

        It is if it puts the bank’s owners and depositors at risk. At the very least they could have put themselves on record as opposing bad policies, and the easons why.

        ” All the actors in this thing (with a few stand-out exceptions) were acting rationally given the VASTLY distorted market.”

        Depends on your definition of rational. It may be ‘rational’ to  bow to force majeur and abide by what you know to be bad policies, but how is it ‘rational’ to follow those policies in circumstances where they don’t apply? NO, the banks were issuing risky mortgages on investment and vacation homes in Las Vegas, etc. to make money, using federal rules regarding low income housing as cover.

        Also, your definition of ‘rational’ certainly does not include things like prudence, responsibility, foresight, etc. These are also things most people expect from people in highly paid positions of responsibility.   

        • the banks were issuing risky mortgages on investment and vacation homes in Las Vegas, etc. to make money, using federal rules regarding low income housing as cover.

          Yes.  To make money.  And for years, they DID.  They were responding to INFORMATION.  Including ASSURANCES that crap loans would be backed.  AND that money was CHEAP and PLENTIFUL, and housing prices SOARING.

          Also, your definition of ‘rational’ certainly does not include things like prudence, responsibility, foresight, etc. These are also things most people expect from people in highly paid positions of responsibility.

          Well, you have the award for hind-sight.

          • “Well, you have the award for hind-sight.”

            Nonsense. Banks have been making mortgage loans for a lot longer than the gov’t. has been pushing high risk mortgages. They had standards for those loans. It is not hind-sight to say that they should have abided by those standards. Isn’t that the whole rationale about why all those mortgages should not have been issued?Your argument seems to be that it is rational to jump into a Ponzi scheme as long as you think you are in at the beginning and it is someone else’s money at risk.

            I am no lawyer, but from what I have read acting ‘rationally’ is not enough to keep you out of trouble. Nor should it.  

        • “It is if it puts the bank’s owners and depositors at risk. At the very least they could have put themselves on record as opposing bad policies, and the easons why.”
          At which point they would have been labeled racist for allegedly redlining and would have lost out to the bankers that had no problem doing the government’s bidding.  The perverse incentive distorted the rational decision, aka, don’t lend money to people who can’t pay it back.  The government started a race to the bottom.

          • “At which point they would have been labeled racist for allegedly redlining and would have lost out to the bankers that had no problem doing the government’s bidding”

            Not all the mortgages were given to minorities or in bad neighborhoods. That is why I mentioned the 40% figure. I doubt that the gov’t. would have punished anyone for refusing to give a sub-prime mortgage to a white person trying to buy a vacation condo on Las Vegas. As to losing out to other banks, so what? Just what would Fannie, Freddy, etc.  have lost out on? Bankruptcy?

    • There is some truth in what you way but the government deserves blame in other ways. Loose money policies and an orgy of debt fueled this bubble just as it has every other bubble. Government debt, consumer debt, and business debt all skyrocketed.
      In addition, for the last 25 years a few large banks and investment houses were allowed to gobble up all their regional competition until you had just a handful of “Too big to fail” lenders.

    • I think once you are given marching orders to make sure to have “multicultural lending” then they make lemonade from lemons. When you are able to sell off the mortgages to be repackaged as MBS and the federal government is guaranteeing a lot of them anyway, why would the originators care?
      This is maybe the perfect storm part of the story. If the originators had never heard of MBS and held every mortgage they sold, they would probably have fought back against “affordable lending”. But since they could sell the bad ones onto someone else, they just shrugged their shoulders and said ok fine.
      I mean, I heard they could even use Section 8 payments as income when qualifying…that’s mighty perverse and scary.

      • ” why would the originators care?”

        Because they have a responsibility, if not a legal duty, not to defraud their customers or put the interests of their shareholders at unnecessary risk.

        • What risk, it was all backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury.

          • Was it? Explicitly, in writing? Or was it just an ‘understanding’? If I recall correctly there was substantial opposition to the bailouts and they weren’t a sure thing. Evidently someone didn’t get the word. Hardly something one would expect of a ‘full faith and credit’ situation.
            So what happened to Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, etc.?

        • And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on – Fraudie Mac needs another loan

  • “Every other rich nation on earth heavily subsidizes higher education.”

    That isn’t even true by any stretch of the imagination. One thing American commentators, like this guy and good old Erb love to do is just plain make up crap they would like to be true about the rest of the world to make America look bad. Many other rich nations have easy access higher education and loans to go with that, it isn’t just America.

    The alternative is to have a heavily subisized (even free) higher education but the flipside of that which no one likes to admit is that you must then strictly limit enrollments. Just like in many rich nations a few decades ago it was hard to get into university and you had to pass an exam and beat much of the rest of the population to gain that free education. It is just the recent years when liberal western governments needed a way to keep unemployment numbers down by keeping people in “school” longer that they came up with the con-job that a degree was a ticket to the world. I well remember as I went through high school in the 80s how the system changed noticably and people who should not have bothered stayed on and on an on and then somehow got into university while barely being able to write.

    Now we have yet another “unexpected” consequence of bright people doing socially “destructive” jobs like finance. What a load of crap, would you rather a moron did the job? And similarly, if everyone has a degree just who do these OWS types think are going to do the menial work like serving them lattes, bagging their groceries and keeping the public spaces the occupy nice and clean? Mexicans??? Just what did they think was going to happen to such work, that the need for getting it done would just magically disappear if they closed their eyes real tight and wished real hard?

    Modern education seems to be one big joke played on leftists by themselves.

    • “And similarly, if everyone has a degree just who do these OWS types think are going to do the menial work like serving them lattes, bagging their groceries and keeping the public spaces the occupy nice and clean? Mexicans??? Just what did they think was going to happen to such work, that the need for getting it done would just magically disappear if they closed their eyes real tight and wished real hard?”
       
      Some of them live in the Tolkien universe, where the elves are all really cool, and no elves shoveled the horseshit out of the stables, maintained the plumbing, or emptied the middens.
      Or they occupy the Rowling universe where the House Elves bake, and clean, and ‘do’ for their masters because, well darn it, they just live to do menial labor.
       
      The unseen ‘little people’ do these things Doc, while many of the college educated, like Erb, more profitably spend their time thinking deep thoughts concerning Kansas lyrics.
       
       

    • You are exactly right DocD, the zeitgeist changed right after I graduate from college and all of a sudden it was drummed into the little minds of kids all the way from 1st grade that they HAD to go to college. College was some sort of magical talisman to high paying jobs.
       
      Meanwhile a bunch of illegal Mexican immigrants learned how to repair auto’s, AC/heating, and plubming and are making low six figure incomes while a horde of college graduates are working at Lowes and Home Depot selling them their supplies for little better than minimum wage.

      • As of 4 years ago, still happening.

        • And it ain’t going to change:
          (0) The unemployment numbers would rocket.
          (1) Thousands of functionally illiterate would be told they were not going to make 100k a year out of school and thousands more doing useless degrees filling lecture halls would have to get actual jobs in the actual real world now actually done by illegal immigrants. Competitive entrance exams would hurt the feelings of thousands more.
          (2) Universities would lose a buttload of paying customers, errr, students.
          (3) Universities would lose a buttload of cash.
          (4) The likes of Erb who are really superfluous to the whole system would be out on their ears as the teaching staff are cut back to the best and most able to do actual research and supervise high-powered minds.

          On the other hand going back to the older system would mean that education could be subsidized for the brightest and best and more money could be used for true research and not generating all sorts of paper that could be better used as luxury 4-ply toilet paper. I mean, has anyone looked at what is in many academic journals these days?

          • Many of the kids who were deceived are moving on to reality, grudgingly.  Seems to me it’s more likely to be the ones who came from privilege who think they are owed for their shirty decisions, because generally they were the ones who racked up the biggest bar tabs (because they thought they could afford to).

  • OWS and their fellow travelers in the Democrat party can go sc*ew
    They all chose to take on debt. Now they want to be absolved? Great, go ahead with that, but bet long on pawn shops because that will be the only way anyone in this country will ever be able to get credit again.

  • As someone who has studied political economy for three decades it always amuses me when someone calls those with a different theoretical perspective as “ignorant.”   As a teacher I tell people that this is a sign of closed minded thinking, creating the inability for people to question their own perspective.  True intelligence means understanding why intelligent people of diverse perspectives hold the views they have, and realizing that simply deriding those perspective differs is polemical nonsense.  To me based on all my studies and analysis, the article cited appears ignorant.  Yet, of course, to say that would be making the same error, so I try to understand why those views are held, and then reflect.  I still think your world view is based on false premises and assumptions, but I agree it would be wrong to label it ignorant.
    As for the problem – governments and states have been losing authority since the 1980s when globalization and the internationalization of capital led to concentrated power in the hands of big business and big money.   The big money/big government nexus has shifted power away from states to economic elites (I wrote about that in my blog today, motivated by the reaction of said elites to the possibility of a Greek referendum).  States and governments have less power and influence over policy than any time in recent history, meaning that democracy has also gone into crisis as power is no longer truly held by government that can be voted in or out, but to “big money” that both partners with and limits big government.
    Alas, the ideologues are locked in ideology-driven understandings of reality which either say “big government is the answer” or “completely free markets are best” (a view totally unsupported by history).   Some look to governments to solve problems, others have a naive romantic faith in markets.  Together they create an ideological sideshow that hides the true problem.

    • ”  Yet, of course, to say that would be making the same error, so I try to understand why those views are held, and then reflect.”

      LOL.

      Plagiarist. Mark Antony said it first. And better.

    •  “big money”

      Now, now. Don’t be coy. We know who you mean (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

      • Does he mean the Rothschilds, or the Bilderbergs?
        Historically you know, rich people have never influenced government, or even limited it, never, ever.  It’s only in the 20th century this happened.  Thank the deity that we’ve moved out of the 20th century so our thinking can be all different now and we can embrace a global world.
         
        As Yoda would say, “mine! mine!”

        • I think time was suggesting Jooooooooooooooooooooos…

          • I know, so I picked the Hitlerian scapegoats of the 20th century who are Joooooooooooos, or that group of rich secret dudes that secretly runs the world (and who have BERG in their name, which ties them back to the Joooooooooos).
             
             
             
             

          • Have you read Erb’s little essay about Greece? All that business about sovereignty (will of the people), conspiracies of big money and ranting about global capitalists. The little guy would fit right in at a little beer hall gathering in Munich in the early 20th century. Really, people wonder how so many willingly followed the “thinkers” of the 20th century when really it is all so depressingly clear that people *want* to follow anyone talking this nonsense.

          • Will of the people, the people have only the rights the government grants them, Erb said so himself, several times.  They have no inherent inalienable sovereignty, all rights flow from the government.
             
            Exactly who do the democratically inspired Greeks think is going to pay for their ongoing socialist experiments?
            The Greeks?
            such an ass, as if voting something makes it real, as if they can vote themselves out of the socialist hole they’ve dropped themselves into, as if they don’t have to stop spending and can just vote the problem away.
             
            This is like going to a bar, buying rounds for everyone all evening, and then voting at the end of the evening that you don’t owe the bar anything.
             
             

    • “completely free markets are best” (a view totally unsupported by history)

      Well, history, any connection to reality, or definition.
      But, as your straw men go, this was just the same muddy norm we all expect from you.

      realizing that simply deriding those perspective differs is polemical nonsense…

      and

      others have a naive romantic faith in markets

      without the least self-awareness.  What a moron…!!!!

       

    • Surprise, surprise. Erb is calling for the same sort of government/market interaction that cause the problem in the first place.

    • As someone who has studied political economy for three decades it always amuses me when someone calls those with a different theoretical perspective as “ignorant.”    >>. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    • You know Erb I could have some sympathy with the argument that a Greek referendum is an expression of sovereignty, since there is nothing the federal Eurocrat weenies hate more than people voting. But even you can see that this move by the Greek PM is nothing more than a weak-willed attempt to side-step taking any responsibility for the shit the Greek government has gotten itself into. Unfortunately the Eurocrats are quite rightly pissed off because the deal was struck with no talk of a referendum, so he is really acting in bad faith towards them. He is acting in bad faith towards the Greek people because this is the sort of business that representatives are elected for, not to cover his own ass when he thinks he needs to. If he really cared about sovereignty he’d take Greece out of the Euro and regain the control over the “big money” as you call it. But that is also something you conveniently forget when needed, that joining the Euro brought obligations that weren’t supposed to be at the whim of individual members. Remember the civilized Euro Erb? No? Too 20th century perhaps? I guess that Papandreou is really like the OWS crowd, committed to obligations they made in good times and now want someone else to pay them to get out of it. Just like “big money”. How very 21st century.

    • Alas, the ideologues are locked in ideology-driven understandings of reality which either say “big government is the answer” or “completely free markets are best” (a view totally unsupported by history).   Some look to governments to solve problems, others have a naive romantic faith in markets.  Together they create an ideological sideshow that hides the true problem.

      Once again, thinking is indicted.  The root of “ideology” is idea.  Thus, Erb attacks the very process of using ideas to make decisions and judge the ethics of a given proposition.  Of course, the notion that ideology is bad is, itself, a fundamental idea.  Somehow, that is exempted from the rule.
      Oh, also, Erb’s ideas about what is good and bad, how people ought to behave, are also exempted from the “ideology is bad” rule, because, you know, his ideology somehow isn’t ideology, it’s not 20th century thinking, it’s nuanced, etc..
      He asserts that “history” does not “support” the ethical statement that allowing people to make their own decisions about the things which concern them, so long as they aren’t doing harm to others, i.e., free markets.  It’s not that he has a moral argument for using aggressive force to coerce people to handle their affairs according to a blueprint set down by the rulers.  He just asserts that freedom doesn’t “work”, basically because it isn’t easy to maintain.  Also, situations in which there was not an actual free market but which had a few cosmetic similarities are held up as examples of free market failures.
      He also lies about people having a “romantic faith in markets”, which is a total fabrication, a straw man.  If anyone requires faith it is the man who puts his faith in others to make decisions for him and for his neighbors.  After millennia of observing those who wield government power acting for their own selfish ends, corrupted by power, failing to carry out the promises to serve others fairly, believing that if we just had the right people in office there would no longer be corruption is the ultimate act of faith in defiance of all evidence.
      No, advocacy of freedom does not require “faith”.  It’s simply a rational acknowledgment that other human beings have the same rights of life, liberty, and property, and that using aggressive force against them is wrong.  It’s not a prediction that there will be no poverty, economic downturns, or other calamities.  It’s simply a recognition that interfering in another’s business when you haven’t been invited is wrong.
      The world is a difficult place, with all sorts of potential hazards.  There are no guarantees in life and completely unfair things happen.  There are people who will act as predators.  So much for the “romantic” view of things.
      Same Erb, different day. SEDD

      • Erb thinks ideology is passé. But Erb is a post-modernist, he likes dialectics so he can play all sorts of word games to never have to reveal a preference or make a moral decision. At least in public, because all post-modernists derive their useless and contradictory verbiage from classical Marxist dialectic theory. So when they make a mistake and reveal their true beliefs it is always Marxist.

        But for the likes of Erb it is OK because he is safely tucked up in some backwater university teaching students who are not bright enough to be in a PhD program and who have never encountered this sort of intellectual vacuity before. So they think his ideas are wonderfully new and fresh, but actually he is just a cheap Derrida imitation.

        • I’ve been witness to his weak arguments and ridiculous contradictions since it was actually the 20th century.
          He’s added a few new buzz words to his repertoire, but overall has been making the same non-committal arguments all along.  As Rob Robertson pointed out, it’s like a calliope stuck in an endless loop.
          Just using his on-line writing, one could write an entire chapter on Logical Fallacies for a Logic course.  All the examples could be culled entirely from his own words.  Here’s a start.

          • Oh. My. God. He has been doing this narcissistic “educated” simpleton act for over a decade? Interesting to see how far those old usenet trolls can go.

        • “he can play all sorts of word games to never have to reveal a preference or make a moral decision.”
           
          He may think that, but he does. Claiming to have no preference is, after all, a preference.

    • You really need to conclude your posts with a tag line – like “tra la la” or “see to it my man”.    Perhaps “We’ll have tea down on the portico by the tepidarium”

  • Erb you give yourself away on your own ideology by throwing in qualifiers like “naive” in your supposedly superior non-ideological analysis. Now either you are an amoral psychopath, with no ability to base a moral worldview on a consistent foundation (ideology if you will)… Or you are a two-bit pomo hangover from 1996 (I’m betting you thought Sokal’s critique of ideological science was great) who thinks getting paid to rob students of their time and money is a right old wheeze.