Free Markets, Free People

Stray Voltage

Professor Melissa Click, recently the face of the ugly left during the recent University of Missouri protests, has been notified by the Board of Curators that they’re terminating her employment there.  Click, you may remember, was charged with assault when she confronted a student reporter and grabbed his camera while calling for “some muscle” to help her force him to leave.  Interestingly, the Board of Curators also cited her actions at the Homecoming Parade a month before as grounds for dismissal as well.  You can read the whole investigation here.  So much for her tenure hearing … ain’t gonna happen.  You can read the whole investigation and the letter for the Board here.  I did last night.  Very interesting.  I can’t say she didn’t deserve what she got, and, frankly, it’s good to see bad actions ending up having consequences.  Apparently she thought and admission and apology were sufficient.  The Board did not.

Speaking of the SJWs, those at Brown University simply can’t get over the fact that they’re being required by professors to turn in class assignments on time after their activism has totally exhausted and drained them emotionally:

Liliana Sampedro, one of the students who compiled the diversity ultimatum, argued that refusal to grant such accommodations “has systemic effects on students of color,” who she said may sometimes feel obligated to prioritize their activist work over their studies.

“I remember emailing the professor and begging her to put things off another week … I hadn’t eaten. I hadn’t slept. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally,” Sampedro recalled. The professor nonetheless insisted that she submit a previously-assigned research presentation on time, which she claims forced her to stay up late to finish the project after having already spent hours working on the list of demands.

Because that’s why they went to Brown – to “prioritize their activism work over their studies”.  I know a bunch of folks at my college who “prioritized their partying over their studies” and they got no break from professors.  All kidding aside – this is our special snowflakes getting just a inkling of what is in store for them when they finally leave the protection and “safe space” that is Brown.

Some leftists/SJWs are figuring it out:

Speaking of Fascism, there is also a disturbing trend on the left nowadays that involves rejecting free speech/freedom of expression as a core value, because that speech could possibly be hurtful to someone, somewhere. This is not only dangerous but it also works against us, because as leftists we are often labelled as threats by the state and at the very least, we are unpopular by society in general. Does this not mean that freedom of thought and expression are crucial to our struggles?

Of course, at this point, not enough of them are doing so and there’s no indication that this is really a trend, however, it’s hopeful.  Read the whole thing.

Camile Paglia is a Bernie supporter, for one reason, because he is offering “free” college.  But she is not a Hillary supporter in the least.  And before she heads off on a riff about “free” college, she blasts the “establishment” Democrats in general and Hillary Clinton specifically (also taking a shot at the establishment media):

Democrats face a stark choice this year.  A vote for the scandal-plagued Hillary is a resounding ratification of business as usual–the corrupt marriage of big money and machine politics, practiced by the Clintons with the zest of Boss Tweed, the gluttonous czar of New York’s ruthless Tammany Hall in the 1870s.  What you also get with Hillary is a confused hawkish interventionism that has already dangerously destabilized North Africa and the Mideast.  This is someone who declared her candidacy on April 12, 2015 via an email and slick video and then dragged her feet on making a formal statement of her presidential policies and goals until her pollsters had slapped together a crib list of what would push the right buttons.  This isn’t leadership; it’s pandering.

Thanks to several years of the Democratic party establishment strong-arming younger candidates off the field for Hillary, the only agent for fundamental change remains Bernie Sanders, an honest and vanity-free man who has been faithful to his core progressive principles for his entire career.  It is absolutely phenomenal that Sanders has made such progress nationally against his near total blackout over the past year by the major media, including the New York Times.  That he has inspired the hope and enthusiasm of an immense number of millennial women is very encouraging.  Feminists who support Hillary for provincial gender reasons are guilty of a reactionary, reflex sexism, betraying that larger vision required for the ballot so hard-won by the suffrage movement.

While I usually don’t agree on a lot of what she says, I love the way she says it.  In this case, I’m with her about Clinton.

Speaking of “free college”,  in case you missed it, Louisiana tried that.  And, guess what?  It worked about as well as “free health care”:

A person receiving “free” tuition may not see it (or even care), but subsides actually raise the total cost of an education. The core problem is that they remove the paying customer—in this case the student—from the equation.

Without the subsidy, the paying customer receives the direct benefit for the service and bears the direct cost. If that person doesn’t think the cost is worth it, they don’t pay.

Louisiana’s program replaces this paying customer with groups of government officials. These officials neither receive the direct benefit nor endure the direct cost of obtaining an education. These groups do, however, benefit a great deal from obtaining more of your tax dollars.

And they rarely bear any direct cost from either increasing your taxes or delivering a substandard education product. (The incumbency rate is fairly high for politicians.)

Works great for government (bigger, more government jobs, more taxes) but not so hot for the taxpayer – as usual.

Socialism?  Heck yeah.  Why look at how well Venezuela is doing:

And now, the announcement of the “nutritional emergency” makes it official. Venezuela is out of food, and it’s only a matter of time before Venezuelans are quite literally starving due to a long series of terrible decisions by their leaders.

That’s right, it’s no longer about not having diapers and toilet paper.  Nope, the socialist government has run the country out of food as well.  Feel the Bern!

Peggy Noonan approaches the popularity of Trump, and for that matter, Sanders in the presidential race with a little different take.  Instead of talking about the elite, I think she makes a differentiation that better explains why those two have any political viability at all:

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and western Europe is immigration. It is THE issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.

I think it gets us closer to the discontent felt by much of the country.  It has become clear that the “protected” are feathering their nests at the expense of the unprotected and, as Noonan says, will never suffer the effects of their policies because they’ve protected themselves from such an occurrence – or at least tried to.  Yes, it’s a bit oversimplified.  There’s much more going on, but it helps explain what no one has satisfactorily explained to this point.

On the other hand, I can’t help feeling I’m living in Weimar Germany.


Hope everyone has a great weekend!


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40 Responses to Stray Voltage

  • Universities should be places of free speech, those on the supposed “left” who want to deny it are contrary to academic values. Firing Click was the right thing – and assignments have to be turned in on time even if you protest or party! Free college…Germany has it. The classes are very large (often hundreds), students do not get personal attention, and thus many students who could do good work don’t get the help they need. Moreover, services American colleges offer (writing clinics, math clinics, personal tutors, etc.) are virtually non-existent. Moreover, demand is kept down by a system that moves some pupils by their early teens to vocational/apprenticeship positions funded in part by the industries who will benefit from the skilled workers (everything from plumbing to banking). To implement free college in the US would upend all of higher education – and while I’m old and senior enough to keep my job, the number of positions for new faculty would plummet. There are real problems with the high debt college system we have now – much like our health care system, it’s bloated with lots of unnecessary costs. But free college? You get what you pay for.

    • The is also the idea that Germany (and Sweden and Japan and probably others) have this wonderful (sarcasm) system that has their students take the equivalent of the “Regents” (New Yorkers understand) and base virtually all of you future opportunities on this one test. You going to university, trade school, etc based on this test. There isn’t any chance of changing this, unless you stumble upon a pipe of cash.
      In Japan, they put porticos over apartment entrances to protect people entering from those who crack under the pressure and leap to their deaths.
      Wow, what a future … and we haven’t gotten to the costs and the unintended consequences of flooding the work force with so many college graduates, something we already have but to a lesser degree.

      • Not to mention we’ll want to provide the free educations for a very large segment of people from Central America who’s native languages aren’t English.

        But no worries, I’m sure we can grind some “rich” people down to get the money.

        • Those free educations are already being provided. Check out the number of ESL (not to mention remedial) English classes in your local Community College.

        • Every time they try to “tax the rich” they always end up taxing everybody else except the rich.

          The solution .. you have to tax personal property, the way public schools and counties do.
          Put an exclusion for the “NOT rich” … say $25 million, which is about what you nee to retire these days.
          Then tax property and equities at 2% or so. George Soros will be paying this.

          • Inevitably the legislation is written by the rich and protects the rich, while the unconnected, new rich, or stupid rich take a hit the first time around till they learn the ropes. And it’s written so the they can get out of it by shifting their money around in various ways to avoid the penalties of ‘being rich’.

            Then the ‘rich’ who passed the legislation during the next election will tell the people carrying the burden of the change, and the people who benefit from the change in handouts, that ‘the rich’ are now paying more of their fair share.

            We’re kidding ourselves if we ever believe ‘the rich’ are actually paying what the Congressional rich claim they’re going to make their rich contributors pay.
            It’s all tax code kabuki.

          • All of that is true. But the reason for the immoral kabuki performance is to play on, and take advantage of, the immoral covetous greed of “the poor”.

          • Yup, envy pays, not the people who have it, but the people who feed it.

  • Robert Reich, who worked in the Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter administrations and was Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, endorsed Bernie Sanders on Twitter Friday evening.

  • “Venezuela is out of food”

    But the good news is that the toilet paper shortage doesn’t matter now. Every (white) cloud has a silver lining.

  • Hilarious closing photo – would help if I didn’t find it just so danged accurate.

    In the mind of the ruling collective, we already screwed up because we didn’t take Bush.
    Now they’ll accept it if we take Rubio.
    They still don’t want Cruz.
    They definitely don’t want Trump.

    And the faux-conservative pundits and GOPe leaders are all butt hurt because a large segment of the populace refuses to sign up for 4 more seasons of “It’s the Ruling Party show, pay up suckers”.
    The number who are now out wandering in the wilderness searching for themselves because we won’t listen to them will populate a small city at this point.
    What they’re going to discover there is a lot of us moved into the wilderness over the last decade and, we’re not in the mood to be nice neighbors any more.

    • A sample – GOP donors scramble to find a third party candidate
      they’re just desssssspeerrrrraaaaatttteeeee to save us, their willingness for sacrifice on our behalf, it knows no boundary.

      So what we can look forward to then, is President Hillary Buchlinton – unidicted, or Presidental Pardoned National Security Felon and President of the United States – just before we rumble one more time for ‘freedom’.

      But the asshat ruling party will keep their perks for a couple more years before it goes sideways.

    • And Obama…turned a whiter shade of pale!

  • That’s right, it’s no longer about [Venezuela] not having diapers and toilet paper

    On the bright side, the food crisis *does* solve the toilet paper and diaper crises — so, one step back, but two forward.

    • Oh, that’s good.

      I wish that reasoning were so ridiculous that I could be sure some socialism defender didn’t actually use it. I’m not.

      I have had two interesting encounters this week, both with Bernie supporters. They ask me if I could support him, and not wanting to get into a day-long lecture on economics, finance, and politics, I just say I can’t because he’s a socialist.

      The answer (which has apparently become a talking point among these naïfs) is that no, he’s a “democratic socialist”. So I ask, “OK, what’s the difference?”

      The resulting baffled looks are priceless. The stammering in both cases came out to “well, in democratic socialism, people vote it in.”

      So my response is “Like Venezuela?”

      For a bonus round, I challenge them to go look up what “Nazi” is an abbreviation for.

      • +10 🙂

      • “well, in democratic socialism, people vote it in”

        Maybe. But it is amazing how the people seldom get a chance to vote it out.

        • Kinda like the grassroots conservatives discovered recently. “Shut up and vote Crap Sandwich. Carp Sandwich is the approved Republican candidate!”

        • In Europe various levels of social democracy exist, but aren’t voted out because the system works pretty well. In almost all states from Sweden to Germany there have been votes for conservative parties when socialist parties to “too far.” The conservatives do not fundamentally alter the system because it’s popular and it works.

          • In Europe, those countries are small and homogeneous. They are rife with cultural nationalism. For those who end up mostly paying into the system, there is a certain amount of real or imagined trust or at least awareness with those on welfare. For those on welfare or considering it, not in all cases, have a certain amount of social pressure or sense of obligation to not abuse the system.

            Fast forward to today, mass immigration is disrupting that sense of homogeneity and trust is being tweaked and everyone is freaked. The belief, because many have admitted as much is that they came for the welfare. And that sense of obligation to not abuse the system is not there. So those counties are turning to hard liners. The extreme version of this happened 80 years ago where an extreme authoritarian regime gained power on the purpose of dealing extra national persons. Mistrust was a large driver of that.

            So socialism in a diverse community requires a dictatorship to function because of abuse, real and imagined, especially once you start hitting bumps in the road. Take a look at SJW’s they are trying to impose a form of hyper conformity of thought to replace that sense of trust and cultural homogeneity in order to help birth an increasing level of Socialism.

      • As I added when I quoted that bit of this blog-post on my own little blog, “— so, one step back, but two forward. That counts as Progress, doesn’t it?

        Even if socialism could work, it would still be immoral. And the reason it does not, and cannot, work is because it’s immoral.

        Margaret Thatcher famously said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. While this isn’t false, it is incomplete — the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s lives. The smiley-face socialism the have in Europe has so far (mostly!) limited itself to trying to live off other people’s money … and it has about run its course. The tougher socialism they had in Nazi Germany and the USSR lived off other people’s lives; while the Soviet system lasted longer than the smiley-face socialism seems like it will last (and started from a much poorer state), it too collapsed, as it must.

      • Modern democratic socialism is a system that embraces markets as being complimentary to socialist principles rather than contradictory. Businesses are given low tax rates and support, and the social welfare system is in part meant to provide labor peace as the cost of giving workers a high quality of life is shared among businesses and the society overall. The biggest difference is that over the years social democracy has evolved to recognize the necessity and power of markets. Nonetheless they believe markets on their own lead to a power differential in society that allows the “winners” to skew the game in their favor, leading to an increasing gap between the rich and others. Their goal is to make sure opportunity exists for all, and that government acts to limit the impact of that gap, especially in important quality of life issues (education, health care, pensions, etc.).

        • There’s nothing modern about it, it’s about where you draw the dotted line about who is in government. Hyper regulatory socialism you carve up sectors of the economy and you pick private sector winners and losers where hard socialism like Communism you make patronage appointments. It may not always go the way you want with who you want but the upside to keeping some semblance of private industry is that Cronyism pays better kickbacks and provides non-government scapegoats when the government screws things up. Trust me Europe is just as rife with Cronies as the US is.

          There’s also nothing very Democratic about it. In Europe, parliamentary systems dominate. You pick between two a few closed clubs and give them dictatorial powers for 5 years. Worse thing that happens is they rotate between parties giving politicians alternating vacations. Pretty much what we’re degenerating into here thanks to campaign finance reforms and backroom party manipulation.

    • It also shows how proactive Socialist countries are about solving the obesity epidemic. We could learn from them.

  • I know a bunch of folks at my college who “prioritized their partying over their studies” and they got no break from professors.

    Though some of them no doubt tried.

    I recall sitting in my office as a graduate student talking to a young woman from the math class I was teaching. She explained that her sorority had some soiree that week for which she was on some important committee, and she was begging to take a scheduled test a week later than everyone else. She sounded just as entitled as these social justice ninnies.

    I patiently explained to her the meaning of the word “extracurricular”.

    • Math major, or English major?

    • In my senior year (1977…I was 26 at the time) I was working full time and carrying 15 semester hours. When I showed up for my Finance 445 final, th professor (who knew my situation) said “You look like hell, I doiubt you’ll stay awake for th test; why don’t you come back tommorow”.

      That’s when professors knew their stuff and were true profesionals.

  • Every time I read about Venezuela falling a few rungs down on the self-sufficiency ladder, I’m reminded of this old post from Ace of Spades. It’s from October of 2013:

    He’s using the French Revolution as his example, but it shows why-and-how government’s desperate efforts to control the economy lead to devastation in the markets, and finally to witch-hunts and executions. Since by definition The Leadership is perfect and its plans are infallible (according to Themselves), scapegoats must be found. The ONLY REASON The Master Plan fails to work (according to their understanding) is because SOME TRAITOR IS COMMITTING SABOTAGE, thus making The People suffer!! That’s the point when the guillotine (or firing squad, or gallows) starts working overtime…

  • The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

    This is the Washington Post, just last fall …

    According to city-level data released this week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross domestic product of the Washington metro area fell 0.8 percent in 2013. At least some of that decline stemmed from the shutdown, presumably a one-off blow. But other factors, including a tighter defense budget, will likely pinch the regional economy for years to come. In retrospect, we’ll likely view 2010 and 2011 as D.C.’s fast-spending heyday.

    “There is no easy way out,” said Stephen Fuller, a specialist in the local economy who heads George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. “It will take quite a long time for the Washington economy to reposition itself — unless the federal government starts spending money again, and that’s unlikely because it doesn’t have that money.”

    So, during the worst part of the Great Recession, they were having a “fast-spending heyday”. There is always a long way to fall. Especially, when you are so far up.

  • A few weeks after Senator Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan push for an immigration overhaul in 2013, he arrived alongside Senator Chuck Schumer at the executive dining room of News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters for dinner.

    Their mission was to persuade Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the media empire, and Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of its Fox News division, to keep the network’s on-air personalities from savaging the legislation and give it a fighting chance at survival.

    Mr. Murdoch, an advocate of immigration reform, and Mr. Ailes, his top lieutenant and the most powerful man in conservative television, agreed at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to give the senators some breathing room.

    But the media executives, highly attuned to the intensifying anger in the Republican grass roots, warned that the senators also needed to make their case to Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, who held enormous sway with the party’s largely anti-immigrant base.

    So the senators supporting the legislation turned to Mr. Rubio, the Florida Republican, to reach out to Mr. Limbaugh.

  • I know a bunch of folks at my college who “prioritized their partying over their studies” and they got no break from professors.

    Not to mention, if you did this in real life, you’d get fired. It is going to be amusing to see how these people fare in the real world where special snowflakes don’t get coddled.

    This is not only dangerous but it also works against us, because as leftists we are often labelled as threats by the state and at the very least, we are unpopular by society in general.

    That is amusing in that a large number of the threats to freedom are coming from leftists in government positions.