Francis Wilkinson: Trump Vanquished His Rivals for the GOP's Soul: "This was not the way to go if Trump wants to defeat Clinton... (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)
Francis Wilkinson: Trump Vanquished His Rivals for the GOP's Soul: "This was not the way to go if Trump wants to defeat Clinton... (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)
Harold Nicolson (1936): Germany and the Rhineland: "What are we to do? We are between two incompatible rights...
...I think I can indicate how far in my own conscience, and within the orbit of my own knowledge and experience, a middle way, a way between war and dishonour, can be found.
I think in the first place we must convince the French that we are not dealing with a reasonable person [in Hitler], that we are dealing with somebody who is a pathological neurotic. I think we should say to the French:
We quite agree with you about all this, but we have got to treat these people carefully, or they will do something mad.
This speech is usually summed up in the quote (that I believe to be fake) that: "France and Britain had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour and will have war!"
That "war and dishonour" phrase is, I think, actually that of Sir Harold Nicolson on the Rhineland.
Nevertheless, the speech has, I think, great wisdom on when to evade and kick the can down the road, and when to take a stand on principle. Here is the Hon. Member for Epping:
Winston S. Churchill: On the Policy of His Majesty's Government: "If I do not begin this afternoon by paying the usual, and indeed almost invariable, tributes to the Prime Minister...
...for his handling of this crisis, it is certainly not from any lack of personal regard. We have always, over a great many years, had very pleasant relations, and I have deeply understood from personal experiences of my own in a similar crisis the stress and strain he has had to bear; but I am sure it is much better to say exactly what we think about public affairs, and this is certainly not the time when it is worth anyone's while to court political popularity.
John Bell (1989): Against "Measurement":
Uncertainty over terms such as 'apparatus' is still rife in serious discussions of quantum mechanics, over 60 years after its conception:
This article is published with the permission of Plenum Publishing, New York; it will appear in the proceedings of 62 Years of Uncertainty (Erice, 5—14 August 1989):
Rick Perlstein: Diverse and Perverse: RNC 2016: The Coalition that Trump Built:
Welcome to the House of Trump: The convention began with a prayer for God to bless his chosen political party, from a black preacher who announced it was fitting and proper to do so “because we are electing a man in Donald Trump who believes in the name of Jesus Christ.” And because “our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.” Rev. Mark Burns is a devotee of the “prosperity gospel.” At a Trump rally in March, he had said: “There is no black person, there is no yellow person, there is no red person, there’s only green, people! Green is money!”
That moment when you realize that David Brooks neither reads or listens to American women:
David Brooks: The Death of Idealism: "[Hillary Rodham] Clinton gave her Wellesley commencement speech in the spring of 1969... ’60s style of lofty, inspiring and self-important idealism... (Live from the Journamalists' Self-Made Gehenna)
Live from the Journamalists' and the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Ross Douthat rejects Trump but endorses Trumpism, saying that the idea that Trump is either "a typical Republican... [or] the scourge our rotten system needs" is "a plausible argument". No, Ross, that's wrong: misogynist white racialism--either in the hard-core version of Trump or the soft-core version that Republicans since Goldwater have embraced is not plausibly a good path for America.
Shame on you, New York Times.
Jamelle Bouie: Buried lede:
Buried lede is that large parts of the conservative intelligentsia have embraced a white nationalist politics.
Ross Douthat: [Trump and the Intellectuals]: A case for Trump's ideas that ignores the man himself:
THE Republican Party’s politicians have mostly surrendered... [and] entertainers have mostly been enthusiastic.... But the conservative intelligentsia — journalists, think-tankers and academics — has been conspicuous in its resistance [to Trump].
Live from the Roasterie: Ask the Internet Edition: Who first said: "A federal government strong enough to build roads is a federal government strong enough to free your slaves"?
The extremely-sharp Miles Kimball quotes Randy Barnett, who is... not so:
Randy Barnett: Growing up, I was like most Americans in my reverence for the Constitution… Until I took Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School.
The experience was completely disillusioning, but not because of the professor, Laurence Tribe, who was an engaging and open-minded teacher. No, what disillusioned me was reading the opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout the semester, as we covered one constitutional clause after another, passages that sounded great to me were drained by the Court of their obviously power-constraining meanings. First was the Necessary and Proper Clause in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)..
Live from the Court of Charles II Stuart: Sarah Jennings[?] on Louise de Kérouaille:
The king made her the Duchess of Portsmouth, and for this she was called 'Fireship' by Nelly Gwynn and others, I believe unjustly, for her children were healthy enough...
James Fallows: Trump Time Capsule #108: Bush, Fahrenthold, Kagan:
A four-month-old article... by Robert Kagan... [with whom] I disagree... on just about everything...
But in the months since he originally published his essay, called “This Is How Fascism Comes to America,” I think his arguments have come to seem more rather than less relevant. Especially this....
We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation.... But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies--his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims... has produced national weakness.... His incoherent and contradictory utterances... provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking... “others”.... His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.
Please also read Garrett Epps’s essay yesterday, to parallel sobering effect. All this is part of what the country knows about this candidate, as it considers whether to make him president; and what the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell know as well, as they stand beside him.
Barry Eichengreen: Closing Remarks to Policy Challenges in a Diverging Global Economy:
It is one of the great pleasures of my association with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to give these closing remarks. Having done this twice before, in 2011 and 2013, this affords me the opportunity not just to highlight some insights from this year’s papers but also to look back at the conclusions of those earlier conferences and see how they stack up in light of recent events.
Must-Read: Ernesto Dal Bo, Pablo Hernandez, and Sebastian Mazzuca: The Paradox of Civilization: Pre-Institutional Sources of Security and Prosperity:
The rise of civilizations involved the dual emergence of economies that could produce surplus (“prosperity”) and states that could protect surplus (“security”)...
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Jeet Heer: The Once and Future Trump:
The Republican Party was torn asunder by a populist media personality running a [white nativist]
nationalistcampaign based on immigration restriction, protectionism, and an anti-internationalist foreign policy....
The highly-esteemed Mark Thoma sends us to Paul Krugman. In praise of real science: "Some people... always ask, 'Is this the evidence talking, or my preconceptions?' And you want to be one of those people...".
Paul's most aggressive claim is that our economics profession in 2007 would have done a much better job of economic analysis and policy guidance in real time had it consisted solely of clones of Samuelson, Solow, Tobin--I would add Modigliani, Okun, and Kindleberger--as they were in 1970: that the vector of net changes in macroeconomics in the 1970s were of zero value, and that the vector of net changes in macroeconomics since have been of negative value as far as understanding the world in real time is concerned.
Ada Palmer (2012): Machiavelli I:
My year in Florence has flown by, leaving me to face up to a life without battlements and medieval towers, without Botticelli and Verrocchio, without church bells to inform me when it’s noon, or 7 am, or 6 am, or 6:12 am (why?), without squash blossoms as a pizza topping, without good gelato within easy reach, and without looking out my window and realizing that the humungous dome of the cathedral is still shockingly humungous whenever I see it, and the facade so beautiful that it hasn’t started to feel real, not even after so long.
Musings on "Just Deserts" and the Opening of Plato's Republic:
Greg Mankiw Defending the 1% proposes what he calls the "just deserts" theory of social justice:
What you have gained and hold by playing by the economic rules is yours: social justice consists in not cheating or injuring people, and not being cheated or injured in turn.
This is an old theory: we see it first in the western intellectual tradition nearly 2400 years ago, in the opening of the dialogue that is Plato's Republic. It is advanced by Kephalos...
Ta-Nehisi Coates: [Why the Media Didn't Bother to Verify if Hillary Clinton's Remark About Half of Donald Trump's Supporters Being 'Deplorable' Was True]:
How Breitbart Conquered the Media Political reporters were taken aback by Hillary Clinton’s charge that half of Trump’s supporters are prejudiced. Few bothered to investigate the claim itself...
First, I need to stop flashing to the dystopian future which Bronwyn here has made me imagine. It is one in which drones overfly my house with chemical sensors constantly sniffing to see if I am cooking Kung Pao Pastrami--without having bought the required intellectual property license from Mission Chinese...
Three big things have been going on with respect to productivity growth here in the United States over the past half century:
Cf.: Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels: Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government
Cf: Martin Wolf: Capitalism and Democracy: The Strain Is Showing:
Confidence in an enduring marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism seems unwarranted....
The subject for the day is the domestication of the horse--where and when and how and why, as recounted by David W. Anthony in his fascinating and absorbing new book, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language (2008)--and also a salute to the luckiest horse in the Fifth Millennium BCE. Per Anthony, the date is about 4800 BCE; the place is in what he chooses to call ‘the Pontic-Caspian steppes,’ just above the Caspian Sea. The ‘why’ is interesting: apparently not for riding, but for food—horses were big and meaty and could live over the winter in cold climates (riding came later).
As to ‘how,’ the flip answer is ‘it wasn’t easy,’ which is not surprising when you stop to think of it: horses—or, more precisely, stallions—are a notoriously tricky lot and they wouldn’t take kindly to being stabled or hobbled or slapped into harness. But as to precisely how, the DNA evidence provides a remarkable clue. Per Anthony:
September 14, 2016 at 08:06 AM in Books, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (7)
Must-Read: The mysterious Pseudoerasmus says--I believe correctly--that Cuba's very real accomplishments in raising human development index values since 1959 are not nearly enough to offset the other major manifest flaws of the Castro brothers' regime in the scales of history.
I would add that had Cuba been a normal North Atlantic country since 1957, then starting from where it was then--as not a poor but a middle-income country--and following the standard North Atlantic historical trajectory would have delivered equivalent improvements in human development index, plus lots more in the way f material plenty, plus a free press, plus real elections, plus a whole host of other bourgeois virtues and comforts:
Pseudoerasmus: Ideology & Human Development:
My overall point can be summarised thus....
The "Institutional" Puzzle
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Rice: If Rumsfeld, Pentagon Had Done Their Job, Iraq Might Have Turned Out Different:
Condi Rice: First, we didn’t invade Iraq to bring democracy — but once we overthrew Saddam, we had a view of what should follow. If Don and the Pentagon had done their job (after claiming the rights to lead post-war rebuilding—things might have turned out differently). Don should just stop talking. He puts his foot in his mouth every time.
Colin Powell: Doug and Paul claims they had a plan (turn Iraq and our Army over to Chalibi) and leave. 43 knew what had to be done, specifically rejected the Chalibi crowd and as you say the boys in the band were brain dead.
Cf: Greg Mankiw (2015): Defending the 1%
The Opening of Plato's Republic Sokrates:
I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaukon the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess; and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants; but that of the Thrakians was equally, if not more, beautiful.
William Freehling: Secessionists Triumphant http://amzn.to/1U15syi:
Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: Weak-Tea Egalitarianism Plus Infatuation with Markets:
I have now clicked the link and discover that I was totally wrong...
Sam Tanenhaus--who has a substantial history of whitewashing wingnuts--calls for reporters to... not do their jobs. They should not cover what Donald Trump says and does. They should not cover what Trump said and did. Why not? Out of fear of some political payback or electoral backlash:
MSM is making a big mistake in current pile-on Trump exposes, and a long term price will be paid. See Agnew/Nixon in 1969.— sam tanenhaus (@samtanenhaus) August 20, 2016
Glenn Fleishman says: WTF?!?!
That implies a) coordination b) that the stories are unnewsworthy c) that media should be concerned with votes https://t.co/7YwDXOAKNn— Glenn Fleishman (@GlennF) August 20, 2016
I chime on, saying Tanenhaus has confirmed one of my judgments:
And Tanenhaus zings back:
Well, that showed me! :-)
Paul Krugman (2011): Mr Keynes and the Moderns:
It’s a great honour to be asked to give this talk, especially because I’m arguably not qualified to do so.1 I am, after all, not a Keynes scholar, nor any kind of serious intellectual historian. Nor have I spent most of my career doing macroeconomics. Until the late 1990s my contributions to that field were limited to international issues; although I kept up with macro research, I avoided getting into the frontline theoretical and empirical disputes.
Must-Read: My late friend Susan Rasky was, in general, annoyed at William Grieder.
You see, she was covering Stockman and the budget in the New York Times in 1981. She was trying to tell as it happened the same story about David Stockman and his budget that William Grieder was going to tell in the Atlantic Monthly piece he published at the very end of the year.
But, she told me once, she got substantial pushback from her New York Times editors, which hobbled her. Why? In part because the Washington Post reporters--being supervised by Grieder--were telling a very different story. And her editors said that if she were right the Post would be on board as well. Grieder, she thought, might not only have been keeping his own material from the reporters he supervised, but also may have been steering the reporters he supervised away from the real story--he certainly wasn't dropping them any hints, and wasn't doing them any favors as they tried to cover a complex situation--the real story that Grieder was saving for the Atlantic, and that Rasky was trying to tell as it was happening:
William Grieder (1981): The Education of David Stockman:
As budget director, [Stockman] intended to proceed against many of the programs...
The body count is truly impressive: hubris, nemesis, and slaughter of the elite of the Davidic kingdom on a remarkable scale...
All save Benaiah, Zadok, Bathsheba, Nathan, and Solomon... Are any other named characters (save the foreign mercenaries outside the clan-and-revenge structure--the Cherethites and Pelethites) still alive at the end? And does anyone save David (and Samuel) ever manage to die peacefully? Perhaps Abishag the Shunammite makes it out of Jerusalem alive?
The Court Historian: The Massacre of the House and Servants of David: 2 Samuel 11 ff.:
David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel, and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah...
How remarkably easy it was for Richard Nixon in 1968 to flatter that Old Progressive Walter Lippman into servile submission!
Back in the 1980s Bob Dole expressed the Washington establishment consensus view on Ford, Carter, and Nixon: "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Evil." Here we have Walter Lippman, having been played like a kazoo by Nixon's team, endorse Evil for President in 1968.
It is hard to wade through the abstract verbal fog of Lippman's argument. But I think at the core it is: Only Nixon can--not go to China, but--put the Negroes in concentration camps should it become necessary. Humphrey cannot. And, anyway, what you do doesn't matter because there is likely to be a landslide for Nixon.
Lippmann was wrong: Nixon won by only 0.7%. It was an election in which every opinion leader who let himself be flattered into plumping for Evil had reason to wonder if his intervention had been decisive.
If our press corps is no better than it ever was, at least it is no worse:
Walter Lippman (1968): "New Nixon" Endorsement:
In the weeks that have passed since the Democratic convention in Chicago, it has become painfully clear that the Democratic Party is too disorganized to run the country. No doubt it is theoretically possible, though it is highly improbable, that Hubert Humphrey can do what Harry Trumen did in 1948. But it's getting late even for that.
Hoisted from the Archives: Daniel Kuehn: Yes, Acemoglu and Robinson's Piketty Review Is Strange:
I just happened to get to one of the parts in Piketty that Acemoglu and Robinson quote to show that Piketty doesn't think institutions matter (from page 365):
Over at Project Syndicate: The Economic Trend is Our Friend: These are days of grave disillusionment with the state of the world. Sinister forces of fanatical, faith-based killing – something that we in the West, at least, thought had largely ended by 1750 – are back. And they have been joined by and are reinforcing forces of nationalism, bigotry, and racism that we thought had been largely left in the ruins of Berlin in 1945. In addition, economic growth since 2008 has been profoundly disappointing. There is no reasoned case for optimistically expecting a turn for the better in the next five years or so. And the failure of global institutions to deliver ever-increasing prosperity has undermined the trust and confidence which in better times would serve to suppress the murderous demons of our age. Pessimism thus understandably comes easy these days – perhaps too easy... Read MOAR Over at Project Syndicate
Dean Acheson: On that Triangulating Bastard Grover Cleveland: From Dean G. Acheson: A Democrat Looks at His Party:
At the end of the [nineteenth] century there was a lesser, but serious, missed opportunity for Democratic leadership in President Cleveleand's failure to grasp the significance of the Populist and labor unrest... and in his cautious and unimaginative approach to economic depression. The unrest... did not spring from a radical movement directed against the established order... or the constitutional system. It grew out of conditions increasingly distressing... on the farms and in the factories.
Once again, not somebody who I see as underrated in the world at large. But the community in which he is well-known seems, once again, to have less overlap with it should with the community that reads here...
June 13, 2015_: I say: "No!":
One "Bush Ally":
The culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents...
Oliver Darcy... argues that Republican elites encouraged conservative voters to embrace alternative, hard-line right-wing media outlets--which made them powerless when those outlets turned on them by backing Trump. Darcy’s piece is thoughtful and well sourced, and you should read it in full. But it misses a basic part of the story.... Look at this list of words that don’t appear in Darcy’s story: “race, racism, Mexican, Latino, black, African Americans, minorities.” Race and racism are a huge part of the Trump story, inseparable from any meaningful account of how he succeeded. That’s because race remains a hugely important motivating force, independent of class or partisanship, in American voters’ political behavior. Ignore that almost entirely, as Darcy does, and you end up with a distorted analysis of Trump’s success.
Live from the Journamalists' Self-Made Gehenna: I see an extremely strange, weird, and wrong white-washing of Barry Goldwater by Louis Menand in the New Yorker...
Goldwater, according to Menand, was: "[no] kind of racist... a lifelong opponent of racial discrimination... did not want to campaign for the segregationist vote."
And yet, somehow, the campaign Goldwater ran and the organization to run it he built were very clear on what the first liberty he sought to secure was: The first liberty was the liberty to be free from the interference of the federal government in how your state, county, citizen, and town dealt with African-Americans:
Louis Menand: He Knew He Was Right:
Goldwater was not a segregationist, nor was he any kind of racist. He was, in fact, a lifelong opponent of racial discrimination...
Must-Read: I don't know if I dare show this to Joachim Voth, lest he be thereby driven into shrill unholy madness, and have to abandon his cushy chair at Zürich for one at Miskatonic University in haunted Arkham, MA...
There were a great many people who firmly believed and there was a very widespread sentiment that it was very important to keep the profit motive out of or to limit its influence over the grain trade. See, for example:
And, of course:
The view that when the stakes become high--matters of life and death--then market solutions can no longer be justified by the claim that they maximize a weighted sum of individual utilities, because the weight they then place on some people's utilities is zero. That's a very powerful argument. People should not pretend it doesn't exist:
Megan McArdle: Health Care Is a Business, Not a Right:
People need a lot of things. You’ll die without food long before you’ll die without health care, and yet few people say we need to “take the profit motive out of farming”. There are some, to be sure, but this was never a widespread sentiment even when food was a lot scarcer and more expensive). Why is health care special?...
Must-Read: Patrick Wallis et al.: Puncturing the Malthus Delusion: Structural change in the British economy before the industrial revolution, 1500-1800:
Accounts of structural change in the pre-modern British economy vary substantially...
Live from Trumpland: Immigration was always the explosive wedge that will destroy the GOP:
Running hard on immigration is a brilliant way to win the primary...
Live from BushLand: Does Colin Powell want to have a reputation? Did Colin Powell suggest that Hillary Clinton should use her private email account as Secretary of State? Yes. Did he remember so advising her? Yes. Does he remember that now? He claims not to...
Joe Conason: [Did Colin Powell Advise Clinton To Use A Private Email?]:
Did Colin Powell suggest that Hillary Clinton should use her private email account as secretary of state—as he had admittedly done in that same job several years earlier?...
Live from Trumpland: Who is attracted to voting for Trump? And why am I not--even as more than half of my income class is going to pull the lever for Trump this fall? Is it my urbanity? My education level? My unwillingness to fall for one of the most obvious grifts on the planet? The fact that I took too many American Studies courses as a child and so identify not as "white" but as "Yankee"--a descendant predominantly of East Anglian and Severn Valley Puritans, the position of whose culture and values in America today is not a result of relative numbers?
Josh Marshall wrestles with this hard problem, and comes up with a Polanyiesque interpretation: the disappointment by the market economic system of what had been thought as reasonable expectations leads to a politics of revenge--but not just of revenge against the Masters of the Universe, revenge against those who are somehow getting above themselves and getting free stuff:
Josh Marshall: Trumpism is a Politics of Loss and Revenge:
Trump support is highly correlated with areas experiencing rising mortality rates for whites--a massively important societal development, in addition to a tragedy....
Pseudoerasmus: Greece from Postwar Orthodoxy to “Democratic Peronism”:
In a paper which passes for a reasonable parody of the Washington Consensus fad of the 1990s...
Live from the Nineteenth-Century Equivocating Political Stump: Abraham Lincoln: Speech at Ottawa (August 21, 1858): "Now, gentlemen, I don't want to read at any greater length...
...but this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole of it, and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect social and political equality with the negro, is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. [Laughter.]
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787