I’m having knee surgery on Tuesday, so this may be it for the week …

Round 19 – Paul

Tom:

Did I ever tell you my first career was that of Store Detective? I was barely 21 when I started walking the floors of I. Magnin & Co at 830 North Michigan Avenue. There I worked undercover for 4 1/2 years before moving across the street to Marshal Field’s Water Tower.

As a Store Detective I got to know the Michigan Avenue Tactical Unit of the Chicago Police Department’s 18th District. Which was based on Chicago Avenue at Clark Street. There were about 6 regular plain clothes cops on that unit whom I spent a huge amount of time with during my 7 years on the Avenue.

Tom, when you’ve spent that much time with Chicago cops you get a little cynical.

My first job in L A was that of Store Detective at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. From there I became a Hotel Detective at The Beverly Hills Hotel. In both of those jobs I saw the rich and famous every day. Warren Buffet and Ron Pearlman were regulars at the hotel in addition to countless entertainment figures.

After the hotel closed for renovations, my next position was that of Security Receptionist at the Bel Air headquarters of Michael Milken, famed Junk Bond King of the 80′s. From Sept ’92 – Nov ’94, I sat at an antique desk in Milken’s sun room of a lobby (the building looked residential). There I signed for Milken’s mail and welcomed his visitors which included some very illustrious people.

In fact, I was there when Mike got out of Federal prison after serving his sentence for wire fraud (convicted by Rudolph Gilliani). Mike was, as you might know, a key figure in The Savings & Loan Crisis. As a purveyor of junk bonds, he empowered several rogues who took over Savings & Loans. Using the assets of those thrifts to buy ‘more’ junk bonds, of course. Which kept the junk bond market going like a “daisy chain”, as FORTUNE magazine opined.

I gained considerable insight into Mike’s career by reading books from his own library. And gleaning information from all his visitors. During this period, Tom, I began to unlearn all that Milton Friedman shit about the beauty of free markets. Instead I began to realize that big time traders could rationalize almost anything in pursuit of profits.

Mike actually saw himself as the Christ of capitalists who was crucified for everyone’s sins. He was also convinced his Jewishness had a lot to with the legal problems. What’s more, he surrounded himself with sycophants who embraced his version of events.

It may interest you to know that in 1987, when his personal income reached 750 million, Mike was planning to buy up huge tracts of West L A between Century City and Santa Monica. Like “Monopoly” the board game. A scheme he might have carried out had he not been prosecuted.

So when you spend years hanging out with Chicago cops, then years among the rich and famous, and finally a couple years among big time buccaneers, you get a unique perspective. Though not, as you presume, the perspective of some wild eyed liberal socialist. No, it’s more the perspective of a Chicago cop who spent years arresting urban junkies. Then later spent time observing the biggest of buccaneers.

So at this point, that evangelical capitalist shit I believed in my early 20′s seems terribly dated now. Especially after The Financial Crisis. It’s like an album from the 70′s that I once found inspirational. But these days it just sounds shallow and irrelevant.

And Tom, if you believe The Financial Crisis was caused by liberal policies that forced banks to lend to unqualified home buyers, then surely you’d agree we need to ‘tighten’ regulations. But you don’t. Which becomes a peculiar paradox.

Did stupid liberals force Wall Street to write trillions of dollars worth of derivatives? Those were the toxic assets that tanked Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers. And what about AIG? They were essentially a casino! Taking bets they couldn’t pay off. Stupid liberals made them do that? Stupid liberals caused the crisis in Europe too? How odd that socialist countries, like Sweden and Denmark, came through the crisis unaffected.

Tom, you and most Republicans are living in a time warp where it’s always 1980. You’re always running against Jimmy Carter and big-spending liberals. The Savings & Loan Crisis, The Dot-Com Bust, Enron, The Financial Crisis.. none of it ever happened. Unregulated capitalism is still the only answer.

Again, it’s like an album from the 70′s that now sounds very shallow.

Paul

 

Round 19 – Tom

Paul –

You keep bringing up fraud as if that’s allowed under a free-market system. It isn’t. A transaction that involves fraud is not a voluntary transaction, which is all free markets are about: voluntary transactions. When crooked investors commit fraud, they are breaking the law. To cite law-breakers as proof that unregulated markets don’t work is just plain silly. You’re essentially saying that since some people break laws, that’s proof we need more laws. No, it’s proof that some people will always break the law, no matter how regulations you pass.

It may interest you to know that in 1987, when his personal income reached 750 million, Mike was planning to buy up huge tracts of West L A between Century City and Santa Monica. Like “Monopoly” the board game. A scheme he might have carried out had he not been prosecuted.

And if he’d bought up huge tracts of land from willing sellers, the harm would be … ?

And Tom, if you believe The Financial Crisis was caused by liberal policies that forced banks to lend to unqualified home buyers, then surely you’d agree we need to ‘tighten’ regulations. But you don’t. Which becomes a peculiar paradox.

Say what? Bad government regulations lead to hundreds of thousands of bad loans being written, so I should take this as proof we need more regulations?

Did stupid liberals force Wall Street to write trillions of dollars worth of derivatives? Those were the toxic assets that tanked Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers. And what about AIG? They were essentially a casino! Taking bets they couldn’t pay off. Stupid liberals made them do that? Stupid liberals caused the crisis in Europe too? How odd that socialist countries, like Sweden and Denmark, came through the crisis unaffected .

The trillions of dollars of worthless derivatives were created by Fannie and Freddie, Paul — two GSEs whose dumbass policies were encouraged and protected by the “affordable housing” crowd in Congress. We’ve already covered this, but before Fannie and Freddie were empowered and encouraged (and in some cases ordered) to buy up most of the mortgages written for people with less-than-stellar credit ratings, banks were quite conservative and cautious. As I told you, my best friend was turned down for a mortgage in 1985 despite having a 10% down payment and a well-paying job as an associate with a law firm. It’s not in the self-interest of banks to write mortgages for people who may not pay them back … unless they get to immediately sell off those mortgages to Fannie and Freddie. That’s exactly what happened, and it was all aided, encouraged, and demanded by government officials.

Here’s part of a piece from that arch-conservative newspaper The Village Voice, explaining Andrew Cuomo’s considerable role in the whole mess:

“Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country’s current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded “kickbacks” to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.”

The Bush Administration was worried about what Fannie and Freddie were up to and tried to impose tougher oversight years before the crash. That move was blocked by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and others in the “affordable housing” crowd in Congress. I’m currently listening to a book written by a former editor at the Wall Street Journal, who explains at great length how ferociously Frank, Dodd and others fought against all attempts to make Fannie and Freddie tighten up their standards.

Take the GSEs and the other government-sponsored nonsense out of this mess, there never would have been so many bad mortgages which in turn became toxic securities. Those securities were sold by Fannie and Freddie, who cooked their books and assured the buyers the securities were sound. Lots of people on Wall Street made mistakes, but their biggest mistake was in trusting the GSEs.

This was a government-induced meltdown. It followed a government-induced bubble that never should have happened, but was fueled by the Fed.

Tom, you and most Republicans are living in a time warp where it’s always 1980. You’re always running against Jimmy Carter and big-spending liberals. The Savings & Loan Crisis, The Dot-Com Bust, Enron, The Financial Crisis.. none of it ever happened. Unregulated capitalism is still the only answer.

The Savings & Loan crisis was the result of privatizing gains while socializing losses — always a bad idea — the dot.com bust was hardly a disaster (more like a natural correction after too much enthusiasm), Enron occurred not because of unregulated free markets but because of outright accounting fraud (which is already illegal and should be), and the financial crises was government-induced.

Again, it’s like an album from the 70′s that now sounds very shallow.

As opposed to that revolutionary new idea of “let’s spend trilions of dollars on everything we want and make the rich people pay for it.”

Or my favorite: “If we spend all this money now, it’ll actually SAVE money in the long run.” So many big-spending government programs have been sold under that excuse, I’d expect the treasury to awash in surpluses by now.

Two thoughts occurred to me as I was re-reading your last few emails:

I read a book awhile back titled “Explaining Post-Modernism,” written by a philosophy professor named Stephen Hicks.  He traces the intellectual heritage of today’s post-modern leftists versus classical liberals or what we now call “libertarians,” since liberals hijacked a perfectly good word and gave it a meaning far from the original.

As Hicks explains, objectivism (the intellectual grandfather of classical liberalism) is based on logic and rationality.  To quote his book:

Individualism and science are thus consequences of an epistemology of reason.  Individualism applied to politics yields liberal democracy … individualism applied to economics yields free markets and capitalism.

Subjectivism (the intellectual grandfather of today’s post-modern leftism) was advanced by philosophers who specifically rejected rationality. Post-modernism, which inspired much of the modern left’s thinking, began as reaction against the Enlightenment thinkers — ironically, in part to save religious faith from the onslaught on science and rationality.  Immanuel Kant was a major influence, as were a lot of other Germans (surprise):  Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg W.F. Hegel, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (not German), Martin Heidegger, and of course Karl Marx.  They specifically rejected reason and logic in favor of subjectivism.

Simply put, an objectivist thinks this way:  If it’s true, I believe it.  A subjectivist, however, thinks like this:  If I believe it, it’s true.  According to Heidegger, for example, reason tells us nothing important, and logical inconsistencies are not a sign of intellectual failure.

Now, once again, try to be objective (there’s that word again) while answering this question:  who is more resistant to pesky things like logic and reason, an objectivist or a subjectivist?  Who has an easier time ignoring logical inconsistencies in a belief system?

As Hicks points out, only a subjectivist could believe that:

  • All cultures are valid and equally deserving of respect, but Western culture is really bad.
  • Values are subjective, but racism and sexism are really, really bad.
  • Technology is destructive and bad, but it’s not fair that some people can afford more of it than others.

The post-modernists were also collectivists.  Here are few relevant quotes:

“The state ought to have a universal compulsory force to move and arrange each part in the manner best suited to the whole”.  – Rousseau

“All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the state … this final end has supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be member of the state.” – Hegel

“A single person, I need hardly say, is something subordinate, and as such he must dedicate himself to the ethical whole.” – Hegel

Because post-modern leftism is based on philosophies that appeal more to emotions than to rationality, leftists the post-modernists taught that language isn’t a tool for seeking the truth; it’s a weapon to wielded for the purpose of acquiring power.  Don’t like what some objectivist-individualist wrote, but having a hard time disputing it?  No problem.  Declare logic a “white male construct” and apply the principles of Deconstruction … otherwise known as “If you can’t debate your opponent’s ideas, label him a sexist or a racist.”  Therefore, personal attacks on your intellectual opponents are not only considered fair game, they’re encouraged.  That’s not just some right-winger’s opinion; it’s clearly stated in famous leftist texts, such as Rules For Radicals, which urges readers to attack, attack, attack, make it personal if need be, because the ends justify the means.  Hicks brought this up in his introduction:

A related puzzle is explaining why postmodernists — particularly among those postmodernists most involved with the practical applications of postmodernist ideas, or putting postmodernist ideas into actual practice in their classrooms and in faculty meetings — are the most likely to be hostile to dissent and debate, the most likely to engage in ad hominem argument and name-calling, the most likely to enact politically-correct authoritarian measures, and the most likely to use anger and rage as argumentative tactics.

Whether it is Stanley Fish calling all opponents of affirmative action bigots and lumping them in with the Ku Klux Klan, or whether it is Andrea Dworkin’s male-bashing in the form of calling all heterosexual males rapists, the rhetoric is very often harsh and bitter.  So the puzzling question is: Why is it that among the far Left — which has traditionally promoted itself as the only true champion of civility, tolerance, and fair play — that we find those habits least practiced and even denounced?

Substitute “Bircher” for “racist,” and that pretty much sounds like you in a couple of your emails, wouldn’t you agree?

On your examples of Michael Milken, Enron, etc. … Thomas Sowell wrote in The Vision of the Anointed that when his students used to declare this-or-that system bad, the first question he always asked them was, “Compared to what?”  Comparing a system you don’t like to perfection is a neat rhetorical trick, but it has nothing to do with anything real, since all systems involve human beings and human beings are flawed.  The Anointed, Sowell wrote, employ this trick all the time when trying to push through the next Great Plan.  If there are flaws in the medical system, it must be replaced with a Grand Plan.  If there are flaws in free markets, we must replace them a Grand Plan.

So Milken and Enron and Madoff committed fraud … so what?  Does that prove free markets are bad?  No, not even close.   Fraud is fraud, period.  It has nothing to do with free markets (fraud means an exchange wasn’t voluntary), and sure as heck has nothing to do with allowing people to invest their own money in a simple index fund.

Going by your logic, we need to get rid of most government programs.  After all, the list of scandals involving government officials who committed fraud would fill volumes.  The biggest and most damaging fraud in recent years was committed by Fannie and Freddie — GSEs run entirely ex-government officials.

Tom

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11 Responses to “Debate With A Leftist Pal, Part 19”
  1. Lyrics from a 70s album:

    Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    You fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then the one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
    And racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in the relative way, but you’re older
    And shorter of breath and one day closer to death
    Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

    Lyrics from a current album:

    Oh, caught in a bad romance
    Oh, caught in a bad romance
    Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah Roma, roma, ma Gaga, ooh, la, la
    Want your bad romance
    Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah Roma, roma, ma Gaga, ooh la la
    Want your bad romance
    I want your ugly, I want your disease
    I want your everything as long as it’s free
    I want your love Love, love, love, I want your love
    I want your drama, the touch of your hand
    I want your leather studded kiss in the sand
    I want your love Love, love, love, I want your love (Love, love, love, I want your love)
    You know that I want you
    And you know that I need you I want it bad, bad romance
    I want your love, and I want your revenge
    You and me could write a bad romance
    I want your love, and all your love is revenge
    You and me could write a bad romance
    Oh, caught in a bad romance
    Oh, caught in a bad romance
    Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah Roma, roma, ma Gaga, ooh la la
    Want your bad romance
    I want your horror, I want your design
    ‘Cause you’re a criminal as long as you’re mine
    I want your love Love, love, love, I want your love
    I want your psycho, your vertical stick
    Want you in my rear window, baby, you’re sick
    I want your love Love, love, love, I want your love (Love, love, love, I want your love)
    You know that I want you
    And you know that I need you
    (‘Cause I’m a freak, baby)
    I want it bad, bad romance

    Yup, those 70s albums sure were shallow…

    Well, if Paul couldn’t make blanket statements, he’d have nothing to say.

    • TonyNZ says:

      I agree with the sentiments wholeheartedly (and I wasn’t even born til 6 years after the 70s). I must say though, there are much more vapid songs about than that one about.

      Like this, for example.

      I don’t think vapid lyrics were particular to any particular era in music.

  2. afriendlyanarchist says:

    (I tried to post this yesterday; it didn’t seem to take, so I’m trying again. Also: Good luck with the surgery!)

    Hi Tom, may I suggest another point of attack: Lesigne’s “There are two Socialisms” (http://praxeology.net/BT-SSA.htm#SSA.35). As Benjamin Tucker explains in the wonderful linked article from 1888, Socialism is in some sense an American invention, originating with Josiah Warren. Only he, like Proudhon, were anarchist (individualist) socialists.

    Of course, these early anarchists were wrong to embrace the Labor Theory of Value, but they were right criticize class monopolies and infer that the solution is the abolition of all monopolies and not subsuming them into one all-powerful State monopoly.

    From a leftist perspective I have one issue with you: you seem to think that all voluntary contracts should be enforced; I would say that being voluntary is a necessary condition, but not sufficient: de facto inalienable rights should not be voluntarily alienated, so I would not recognize even voluntary self-sale or self-rental contracts (slavery, employment, coverture marriage, implicit pactum subjectionis, etc) contracts.

    The most damaging monopoly today is the money monopoly, leading, through the collusion of banks with government, to incredible concentration of wealth, and to lack of access to credit for ordinary people, and thus to unemployment, both in the US and in Europe.

    Since as individuals today we’re unlikely to get rid of government-banking-duopoly, the best we can do is to establish and participate in local mutual credit systems. Note that even Tucker was pessimistic in his postscript to the linked article (1926) about a free future, seeing that the inequality was an almost insurmountable obstacle (with enough money, any monopoly can be sustained). We’re in a very similar situation today.

    I agree about the inalienable rights. The monopolies I’m aware of were mostly the result of crony capitalism, not free markets. Kodak and IBM were once considered to have monopolies over their markets; boy, did that change.

    • Monopolies (or near-monopolies) in and of themselves aren’t bad–they’re a natural developmental stage in most markets, for instance. Almost all new markets follow a pattern very similar to this:

      Step 1: Some new development takes place that makes a new product desirable/useful. (Oil, personal computers, cell phones, tablets, you name it)
      Step 2: Numerous smallish companies enter the new product arena and begin producing an incredible mishmash of products: some good, some bad. There is an INCREDIBLE proliferation of standards, pretty much all of which are mutually incompatible. The market is incredibly chaotic and difficult to understand during this period.
      Step 3: ONE company manages to claw its way to the top of this seething heap of chaos and establish some kind of de facto standardization/economy of scale/systematic organization. This leads to an enormous productivity increase that catapults them to a huge proportion of market share and makes them (briefly) a monopoly or near-monopoly (examples: Standard Oil, Microsoft).
      Step 4: The Big Company gets slack/complacent or there are changes to the market that lead to several smaller competitors springing up and taking away significant market share.

      Now, step 4 doesn’t ALWAYS occur, as in the case of ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) who was so incredibly productive that they could set their price low enough that for a long time no competitor could match them. That’s not a bad thing though, because they’re not charging an artificially inflated price. ALCOA made aluminum cheap and readily available and they kept making it cheaper for their customers.

      Step 4 is often undercut by government interference, so people rarely see this stage of development. Nor is the stage 3 Big Company always or even usually the most innovative or nicest company. Their advantage may be simply that they are more connected with people in other industries so they have an easier time forcing their standard through. Even so, the creation of this standard ultimately is a huge expense for them AND it conveys a large ADVANTAGE to their competitors who can later take advantage of the standard’s existence–assuming, of course, that those competitors can see the writing on the wall and move quickly enough to take advantage of it. If they don’t, they often go out of business. But that’s the free market for you–lots of companies fail. That’s not the same thing as a disaster–a company failing may mean some short-term losses for certain investors, but it ALSO means that the capital that was tied up in that company is now free to be put to some more productive use. That greater productivity creates more wealth, creates jobs, and ultimately benefits everyone, even the people who were tied up in the failing company.

      When people talk about abusive monopolies, they are always talking about government-granted monopolies like the Big Four of the California Railroad system. This was not a natural monopoly that came about due to one company managing to assert a standard, this was a monopoly created by legislative favor and it was abusive as heck. Yaron Brook gave a lecture series entitled “The Corporation” where he discusses that companies in general (Like, say, the East India Company) used to be exactly this sort of government-created monopoly, which is where the view of corporations as these huge all-powerful monoliths arose. Later, when non-governmental monopolies (Like Standard Oil) arose and people saw them exerting their economic power, they found it impossible to distinguish between the method and source of that economic power and the far more arbitrary and ultimately destructive legislative power wielded by historical companies (and, sadly, by some of their contemporaries as well).

      Yup, Standard Oil established a “monopoly” by making heat and lighting affordable to common people.

      • Zack Flummerfelt says:

        Tom/Jennifer,

        Don’t forget the distinction between capitalism and mercantilism that needs to be made. I think Jennifer made it but didn’t use the terms. East India Company is often brought up as an example of the abusiveness of captitalism but it had really nothing to do with capitalism. When most people hear the word “profit” they assume capitalism. In a free market profits often disappear.

        ZF

        The East India Company certainly wasn’t operating in a free market.

  3. Your mention of objectivism nearly threw me for a loop, there, Tom, since I’m a (capital O) Objectivist a la Ayn Rand. I know that’s not exactly what you’re talking about, but I felt I should draw your attention to the fact that (if I’m remembering this correctly) small-o objectivism is not quite what you seem to think it is. There is some obnoxious confusion on this issue and it would have been nice if Rand had picked a different word to name her philosophy, but pretty much every. single. nomenclature. in philosophy has this problem. EVERY DAMN ONE.

    Anyway, IF I’m remembering this correctly, small-o objectivism is ultimately a form of empiricism which, while it led to some aspects of Enlightenment thought wound up sunk in the backwaters of (moral) subjectivism and (political) utilitarianism. The classical liberalism you refer to was actually a strange bastardization of the early writings of a number of social theorists before they became outright socialists of one stripe or another and the peculiar (for that time) American “Don’t Tread on Me” ideal. It had no explicit epistemology, which is part of the reason why it disintegrated so rapidly, just in the period between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. It was a short-lived freak that nevertheless had *enormous* influence.

    Heck, if you want to see this in action, just read Thomas Paine’s later writings on land ownership and be glad that he had little influence on politics by that time.

    The fundamental IDEOLOGY of classical liberalism actually was developed AFTER all of this, and is why classical liberals like Frederic Bastiat ultimately failed to influence the French Revolution. It wasn’t until the Austrian School of economics and Ayn Rand that anybody firmly established the necessary metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics necessary to form a foundation for the political/economic views of classical liberalism. If you read Von Mises, for example, he spends an enormous amount of his *economic* treatise establishing the *epistemological* validity of his ideas.

    Modern libertarians, on the other hand, by and large attempt to ignore or refute the need for this underlying ideology of rationality. Which is one of the reasons why they never really get anywhere–you cannot build a philosophical house without a foundation.

    I’m not sure what you mean by modern libertarians ignoring the underlying rationality.

    A fellow comedian once gave an opinion about why libertarians don’t get anywhere that I think has merit. He said libertarians are the most intelligent, rational people he’s met … but most voters are swayed by emotional reactions, not rational arguments.

    • Maybe I should have said Libertarians. It’s common for (large-L) Libertarians of, say, the Libertarian Party to call it a “big tent” movement and include such organizations as the American Communist Party and NAMBLA. Peter Schwartz wrote an excellent essay entitled “Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty” (http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=HS02I) during the time people were going around referring to Ayn Rand as the “champion of the libertarian movement” etc.

      In any case, I think you can probably grasp the disconnect between libertarianism and the communist party–they are fundamentally opposed. So how does this inclusiveness come about?

      That would be a strange combination indeed. I gave up on the big-L Libertarian party years ago.

  4. TonyNZ says:

    In New Zealand, Farmers Don’t Want Subsidies

    This turned up in my inbox a couple of days ago. Just got round to reading it and thought it would be up your alley.

    It amazes me that our Congress insists on subsidizing the producers of food — the one commodity absolutely everyone consumes.

  5. Paul C says:

    If you want to see Frank, Dodd and Waters in action, just check them out on youtube (easy search). They actually suggest that the bank regulator Bush sent to talk to them should be investigated. Waters even calls Franklin Raines work “outstanding.” You can also find plenty of info on what a dirt bag Raines is…cooked the books for his own personal gain, and walk away with millions…

    Yup, I watched that video. Raines should be in prison.

  6. ProudLiberal says:

    It’s a little odd that your ‘Leftist Pal’ never actually replies to the blog directly. I guess us liberals are just too damn dumb to figure out Google. Couldn’t possibly search on your name and come up with tomnaughton.com.

    I don’t suppose your ‘pal’ is a fictitious creation designed to drum up controversy and drive traffic to your blog?

    He replies to me directly in his non-stop emails. Why would he also reply here? He knows the blog exists but probably doesn’t want to visit here and get shredded by other readers.

    I couldn’t make up Paul. I’m not capable of making such illogical arguments. My head would explode.

    It should be “we liberals,” by the way. Us aren’t dumb. We are dumb.

  7. Frank Kudo says:

    While we should probably try capitalism one day just to see if it actually works I predict we will not get there in the short to medium run. In the meantime, I believe government needs to become a player in the market, and an enabler of third sector activity. Housing co-ops as one example are a very successful model for providing sustainably affordable housing overseas. Housing co-ops are hampered here with legislation, who sees them in the same boat as for profit businesses, and subject to i.a. the Securities Act.

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