Thursday, June 11, 2009


I am not sure if Chris Muir over at Day-By-Day is just trading on the general cuteness of the idea of general impression concealing basic innumeracy among Obama supporters in today's cartoon. But it is far more deeply true than first glance. This is it exactly - the triumph of impression over reality. Obama himself may not be a gabillion sort of guy, but his base is, and he relies on that to effect sweeping changes.

Hold the thought behind this cartoon in your mind until November 2, 2010.


Gringo said...

Recall the poll last year where around 60 % of Obama supporters thought that in 2007-2008 the Republicans controlled Congress.

So much for the oh-so-superior-since-Adlai stance of our liberal friends. Post liberals are like elephants. We don't forget.

copithorne said...

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? Allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy? Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say, I like ever American I’m speaking with were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the tax payers looking to bailout. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Helping the — Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americas. And trade we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive scary thing. But 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation.

This bailout is a part of that.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

A fair complaint, copithorne. Conservatives felt that Bush and McCain shouldn't have been bailout supporters, and I lost respect for Palin trying to put a good face on what she didn't fully believe. I still think it's a terrible idea, and that Obama is doubling down on what was already a bad solution under Bush.

The economy will do some recovering in the short run because people will just adjust. But the money will be paid more in the long run, and I believe it will seriously slow growth.

copithorne said...

Do I understand that it is your perception that Sarah Palin has the kind of insight and understanding of economics that you would like to see guiding our country’s economic policies?

You perceive her judgment about economic matters to be superior to that of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke?

If only she could be freed from her advisors and handlers, then her authentic, instinctive discernment of economic issues would be just the kind of qualities you would look for in a leader?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It's easier than that. Even a dumb conservative is better than a smart liberal on such issues. What I suspect that Palin would do would be much less expensive and less harmful than what Obama would do. Talking about issues and leading are very different.

copithorne said...

I’m kind of not following. You write a post referring to an accusation that Barack Obama pulls economic policies ‘out of his ass.’ This accusation is based on words put in his mouth that he has never said. You assert with no examples that Democrats lack knowledge of economic issues. They are ‘innumerate.’ These things should be remembered as a key reason why they must be defeated.

But it turns out that in your own value system, knowledge of economic issues and economic literacy are not things that you consider relevant qualifications for public office. You are not looking for politicians with knowledge of economic issues and economic literacy. All that is required for sound leadership is a gut response coming from the proper ideological orientation. "Dumb is better than smart."

I see the above quote and for me, Sarah Palin lacks the cognitive faculties to think about economics. In the above quote she is trying to remember the slogans that she has been taught and she ends up expressing an incomprehensible word salad. This is truly ‘pulling things out of her ass’ as it were. She tells reporters that she got a D in an introductory macro-economics class in college. Yet you see her as having more trustworthy insight into economics than Henry Paulson who ran Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke who is a preeminent professor of economics.

It is hard for me to understand how you make sense of these contradictions or how I should. Projection is the most straightforward explanation.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

First, you've got to get a better understanding of what "projection" means. It has a specific meaning in psychology.

I can well see why it would seem puzzling that I would think one so inarticulate in economics would be better than those who are articulate. Results would be part of that. Running Golman Sachs is not exactly a resume enhancer in my eyes at present. Alaska, however, is in pretty good shape economically, and hasn't screwed us over recently.

It is certainly true that Obama never said such patently absurd things. Claiming to create a specific number of jobs, when the WSJ declares that unmeasurable, amounts to the same thing. We have assurances that the stimulus is going to work, but there are very few even liberal economists who think so, and none who believe that it will have a highly positive effect. It will benefit some at the expense of others, and how that will look in five years is unknown.

Basic economic principles of the yeoman farmer, such as - "I don't see why we should spend money unless we are sure" and "This is more money than anyone has ever spent, maybe we should listen to all sides" strike me as wiser maxims than anything Henry Paulson might say.

It is heretical to suggest that all these smart people might have it wrong, but you forget - I work in a field where the experts have proved badly, and dangerously wrong but wouldn't admit it. I was president of an international society for people with astronomical IQ's. Smart people are more dangerous than dumb people because they have no humility and their damage is more widespread. What you really want is moderately smart people running the country, with performance IQ's near their verbal.

copithorne said...

Projection is a psychological defense whereby unacknowledged or unconscious attributes in the self are ascribed to another person. Consciously acknowledging these attributes within the self is experienced as risking an intolerable anxiety. The activity of projection discharges and deflects the unconscious awareness of this attribute to protect the self from that anxiety.

In my perspective, I prefer peace and prosperity over war and recession. And I think that intelligence is a critical dimension of leadership and public policy that lead to those outcomes. Certainly this thread helps provide a clear picture of why we so seldom find a common frame of reference.

I guess in your world it makes sense that the smart people choose dumb people to lead them and the dumb people choose smart people to lead. I’m just so grateful it is working out the way it is now.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Well you got the definition right, but you didn't use it correctly in the previous post, and have misused it before.

Anyway, I think I was pretty clear that the moderately intelligent are the best choice for ruling. But given a choice between a smart liberal and just about anything, I'd choose the other.

You prefer peace and prosperity. Well who doesn't? That you are absolutely sure that your way to peace and prosperity are the correct ones, and are willing to go along with making everyone do it your way via the government, is an excellent example of why intelligent liberals are more dangerous. They are unable to question themselves, unable to see that another party might have decent motives and something worth saying. They thus feel entirely justified in passing massive spending bills without debate, because, y'know they're right. You could hardly have illustrated my point better than with your "peace and prosperity" claim. You are unable to conceive of other people just being wrong in how they approach these things - you have to assume ill motives from them (by contrasting them to yourself), that they somehow don't want peace and prosperity.

Marx & Heidigger were highly intelligent people, and much more dangerous than a mere fool could be.