State of the union? Half of all Americans are anti-American

There is an enormous difference between the two sides of American politics at the moment, and the gap is so wide that for someone such as myself, it seems impossible that anyone could with honesty take the side of the Democrats. This is the Drudge wrap up:


And these are the sidebar links.


These are the White House Excerpts of PDT’s State of the Union address. The speech starts about 15 minutes in.

  • Together, we are building a SAFE, STRONG, and PROUD America.
  • We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work; we want every child to be safe in their home at night, and we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.
  • Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.
  • Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the Middle Class and small businesses.
  • Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker.
  • This is our New American Moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.
  • Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.
  • Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
  • For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.
  • In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.
  • We have ENDED the war on American Energy – and we have ENDED the War on CLEAN COAL. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.
  • America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.
  • America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?
  • I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.
  • Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American Workers and American Families.
  • So tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed.
  • As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.
  • Last year I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth. One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
  • Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

Here is the full transcript.

Bringing harm to others is socialism’s primary goal

A comment on a thread at Powerline on Liberalism is just resentment and envy sanctified where the video showed up as well. After eight years of PDT, even if the astounding success of his first year as President continues for the following seven, you will hear exactly the same. That is what this post is about:

I recall a recent twitter conversation that I engaged in. Basically it was a discussion on the outcome of a social experiment where people were given a choice between two alternative income distribution models.

The first one, choice A, had the highest level of income capped at say 100,000, had a fairly tight distribution across the quartiles, with the lowest being something like 10.

The second one, choice B, allowed for a very small number of individuals to earn 1,000,000 followed by a much wider distribution of quartiles, with the lowest being something like 100.

People were asked to choose which distribution they preferred, and I think they chose option A over option B by more than 2 to 1. This was the case even though it was clear (and perhaps emphasized) that everyone in option B had more money, with the poorest having effectively 10 times the purchasing power over option A.

While that result is astounding in and of itself, the replies on the twitter thread were even more interesting because there were so many people who offered strained and painful rationalizations as to why choice A was better. One I recall insisted that choice B was worse because the purchasing power would be reduced back to A levels since the economy would just reset to the higher levels of wealth due to inflation or something.

My comment ultimately was that all the rationalizations were just thin cover, and that the real reason for the choice was plain old envy of the top. Now I’d have to go back and find the thread to be sure, but I seem to recall the gentleman who started the thread insisting that the authors of the experiment made it clear that the 100 to 10 ratio at the bottom levels really did imply B had 10 times the buying power of A, but that it clearly didn’t matter to the outcome.

I find this result to be a fascinating insight into the irrationality of human economic/moral intuition, and how jealousy and envy play such an outsized role in shaping it.

Socialism has never done anyone any good, other than the handful of leaders who eventually climb to the top of the pyramid. But the envy that drives it will never go away, which is why the socialist impulse will also never go away. For the rest of us, what is crucial to remember is that the motivation behind the rhetoric is in no sense benevolent, but as malevolent as the human heart can be.

“Donald Trump is delivering on economic leadership, that’s for sure”

It’s from Miranda Devine’s radio show but I picked it up at Breitbart: Aussie PM Applauds Trump Leadership, Says Economic Reforms Benefiting the World.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax cuts combined with reforms in corporate regulation are benefiting the global economy, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

Mr. Turnbull pointed to the International Monetary Fund’s strong predictions of global economic growth in the wake of the Trump tax cuts as testament to his economic drive.

Speaking during a radio interview, Mr. Turnbull happily declared: “Donald Trump is delivering on economic leadership, that’s for sure” before outlining his own close personal relationship with the president.

“You’ve only got to look at the IMF to see they regard the American tax cuts as being very pro-growth,” he said. “And, of course, because the US is such a big part of the global economy, that has lifted global growth forecasts as well.

He then added something that must have included a bit of personal reflection as well.

“You get plenty of criticism in public life. You’ve got to expect it. I’m sure he expects it,” he said.

Well, at least Malcolm has now come over from the Dark Side or so he says. If only his policies were more like Trump’s it would be even better.

“I’m for everyone”

For someone who is supposedly inarticulate, he does have a way with words.

DONALD TRUMP: I Wouldn’t Say I’m A Feminist.

“No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far,” Trump said in the interview, according to Morgan. “I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.”

“I’m for everyone.” A better slogan than “I’m with her.”

Says exactly what needed to be said in as few words as possible.

Via Instapundit

Dealing with anti-social-media monopolies

Back in August I wrote a post on It must be made illegal on “social media” to deny service to people who say things that are not illegal to say. Today the Wall Street Journal had an article on What About Social-Media Neutrality?: Facebook’s algorithms have outsize power, both culturally and economically. This is what I wrote then:

Two things should happen. First, these tech providers must be open to being sued for suspending and forcibly closing accounts unless the company can prove in court that what was being said could not be legally said in public. Second, these are now part of modern social infrastructure in the same way as banks and hospitals. They must be compelled by law to accept and maintain on an equal basis anyone who wishes to participate in their services. This is not something the market can or will fix. There can be only one Facebook. It only works if everyone can join. If the proprietors of Facebook don’t want to work within the new rules, then they can sell up to someone else who does.

This is what the the Wall Street Journal said today:

Regardless of whether net neutrality protections continue, regulation of social-media platforms could help even the online playing field and foster innovation, creativity and free speech while guarding against malicious manipulation of content. Without regulation, the internet’s most sprawling content marketplaces will continue to favor deep pockets and endanger free expression.

It’s a big issue and will only get bigger unless something is done.

This is classical economic theory

No one can really see it yet but classical economic theory is coming back. This post at Instapundit by Mark Tapscott is presented and discussed in exactly the way economics would have been discussed by the great classical economists between 1776 and 1936. The issue is not about demand. It is about the redeployment of actual physical resources – capital goods – from less productive and even non-productive uses into more productive and positively productive uses. You may think you have heard this said before, because you think that is how economic theory and policy should be discussed, but I keep an eye out for it and this is the first time I have come across anything discussed in that way.

I have posted this paper before – Making Sense of Classical Theory – which is a pre-print of a paper that will appear in the April 2018 edition of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought. If you are at all interested in understanding how pre-Keynesian economists thought about the structure of an economy and what made it grow and flourish, you should read that paper. It describes in theoretical terms how Mark Tapscott explains the sudden flourishing of the American economy. This is exactly how classical economists looked at things.

TRUMP’S FIRST-YEAR BOOM IS LARGELY DUE TO DEREGULATION BUT THINK ABOUT THIS: Merely cancelling an expensive federal regulation doesn’t immediately convert the compliance cost into a potentially productive new investment. The capital has to be reallocated and some time is required for the new investment to produce sufficient return to offset the former compliance costs. Huh?

In other words: “It takes time for the economy to recover the costs of excessive regulatory compliance and to redirect capital to productive uses, so the gains seen during Trump’s first year are likely attributable in significant part to the expectations generated by his slashing the red tape. The full impact of the deregulation is still to be felt.”

And remember, the Trump tax cuts aren’t in effect until February. Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates regulatory compliance cost the U.S. economy $1.9 trillion. Trump can’t repeal all federal regulations but what if his tax cuts and the continuing positive impact of deregulation in coming years produces an economic boom that far exceeds the Reagan era? Ponder that one a bit!

The value of tax cuts is in their ability to divert resource use away from consumer goods and governments into the hands of productive business who are then able to invest. Cuts to regulation play their role by reducing wasted efforts within business in complying with government directions and instead use the resources at their disposal to create value. It works like magic, because to a modern macroeconomist it is magic since they have no means of explaining what was once perfectly well understood by everyone.

Compilation of the best reactions to Jordan Peterson/Cathy Newman interview

The first is a compilation of reactions to the Jordan Peterson v Cathy Newman interview on BBC4. The one below is Peterson being interviewed on Fox.

Quotes from the Fox interviews.

His single most important piece of advice: “Stop saying things that make you weak.”

Dealing with critics: “They are not just trying to shut you down but to discredit you. If you are very careful in what you say AND YOU DON’T BACK DOWN ultimately things turn around for you.”

On the question, are you dangerous: “Yeah!” . . . “You should be able to be a monster and then not be one.”

On one form of censorship now very common: “If you are a conservative it is highly probable that your youtube content will be de-monitised. . . . It will not be associated with advertising content” and therefore not be promoted and viewed.

LET ME ALSO NOW ADD THIS: Why Can’t People Hear What Jordan Peterson Is Saying?. An example provided in the article.

Peterson begins the interview by explaining why he tells young men to grow up and take responsibility for getting their lives together and becoming good partners. He notes he isn’t talking exclusively to men, and that he has lots of female fans.

“What’s in it for the women, though?” Newman asks.

“Well, what sort of partner do you want?” Peterson says. “Do you want an overgrown child? Or do you want someone to contend with who is going to help you?”

“So you’re saying,” Newman retorts, “that women have some sort of duty to help fix the crisis of masculinity.” But that’s not what he said. He posited a vested interest, not a duty.

“Women deeply want men who are competent and powerful,” Peterson goes on to assert. “And I don’t mean power in that they can exert tyrannical control over others. That’s not power. That’s just corruption. Power is competence. And why in the world would you not want a competent partner? Well, I know why, actually, you can’t dominate a competent partner. So if you want domination—”

The interviewer interrupts, “So you’re saying women want to dominate, is that what you’re saying?”

And then there is the discussion on the pay gap between men and women, which of course refers to the difference in the averages. An old old story among economists for which the answers are all well known except to those who prefer not to know. But Peterson is a psychologist so takes a very different tack.

The next section of the interview concerns the pay gap between men and women, and whether it is rooted in gender itself or other nondiscriminatory factors:

Newman: … that 9 percent pay gap, that’s a gap between median hourly earnings between men and women. That exists.

Peterson: Yes. But there’s multiple reasons for that. One of them is gender, but that’s not the only reason. If you’re a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a univariate analysis. You say women in aggregate are paid less than men. Okay. Well then we break its down by age; we break it down by occupation; we break it down by interest; we break it down by personality.

Newman: But you’re saying, basically, it doesn’t matter if women aren’t getting to the top, because that’s what is skewing that gender pay gap, isn’t it? You’re saying that’s just a fact of life, women aren’t necessarily going to get to the top.

Peterson: No, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, either. I’m saying there are multiple reasons for it.

Newman: Yeah, but why should women put up with those reasons?

Peterson: I’m not saying that they should put up with it! I’m saying that the claim that the wage gap between men and women is only due to sex is wrong. And it is wrong. There’s no doubt about that. The multivariate analysis have been done. So let me give you an example––

The interviewer seemed eager to impute to Peterson a belief that a large, extant wage gap between men and women is a “fact of life” that women should just “put up with,” though all those assertions are contrary to his real positions on the matter.

Throughout this next section, the interviewer repeatedly tries to oversimplify Peterson’s view, as if he believes one factor he discusses is all-important, and then she seems to assume that because Peterson believes that given factor helps to explain a pay gap between men and women, he doesn’t support any actions that would bring about a more equal outcome.

Her surprised question near the end suggests earnest confusion:

Peterson: There’s a personality trait known as agreeableness. Agreeable people are compassionate and polite. And agreeable people get paid less than disagreeable people for the same job. Women are more agreeable than men.

Newman: Again, a vast generalization. Some women are not more agreeable than men.

Peterson: That’s true. And some women get paid more than men.

Newman: So you’re saying by and large women are too agreeable to get the pay raises that they deserve.

Peterson: No, I’m saying that is one component of a multivariate equation that predicts salary. It accounts for maybe 5 percent of the variance. So you need another 18 factors, one of which is gender. And there is prejudice. There’s no doubt about that. But it accounts for a much smaller portion of the variance in the pay gap than the radical feminists claim.

Newman: Okay, so rather than denying that the pay gap exists, which is what you did at the beginning of this conversation, shouldn’t you say to women, rather than being agreeable and not asking for a pay raise, go ask for a pay raise. Make yourself disagreeable with your boss.

Peterson: But I didn’t deny it existed, I denied that it existed because of gender. See, because I’m very, very, very careful with my words.

Newman: So the pay gap exists. You accept that. I mean the pay gap between men and women exists—but you’re saying it’s not because of gender, it’s because women are too agreeable to ask for pay raises.

Peterson: That’s one of the reasons.

Newman: Okay, so why not get them to ask for a pay raise? Wouldn’t that be fairer?

Peterson: I’ve done that many, many, many times in my career. So one of the things you do as a clinical psychologist is assertiveness training. So you might say––often you treat people for anxiety, you treat them for depression, and maybe the next most common category after that would be assertiveness training. So I’ve had many, many women, extraordinarily competent women, in my clinical and consulting practice, and we’ve put together strategies for their career development that involved continual pushing, competing, for higher wages. And often tripled their wages within a five-year period.

Newman: And you celebrate that?

Peterson: Of course! Of course!

And so on and so forth.


The Marxist takeover of our schools should make you really really worry

My favourite Canadian website by a long long way is Small Dead Animals. You should make it a permanent rest stop as you go through your skiing the web (it does originate from Saskatchewan).

A couple of related pieces from today, both worth reading along with everything else, which you will have to link to SDA to find. But first these two, on the taking down of our education system by Marxist know-nothings. They are as ignorant as it is possible to be, entirely ideological in their thinking, with minds so filled with empty slogans and manufactured facts that they have almost no ability to understand what others are saying. Carefully considering what others have to say is the last thing any of them ever do. Indoctrination is all they know: reasoned debate never. Two examples below.

SDA regular Ken Kulak left a brilliant comment earlier that everyone should read:

There are many great comments above.
If I may add my two cents. No doubt some of you might think One Trick Kulak. While reading and listening to the material presented by Robert the thought occurred to me that I have seen this before, not literally, but on paper.

Not to brag or blow my horn, but I have close to 200 Russian history books in my library. Almost all are by recognized historians who are or were recognized authorities in their field of study. Some like Richard Pipes were advisors to governments during the cold war. I have read everyone of those books and parts of some more than once and have been used as background resource material for the four family history books I have written.

What has been happening in our universities across North America to stifle free speech and any opposing views to the entrenching of Marxism and seems to be escalating in intensity. Thank goodness there are a few brave warriors like Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepard and possibly others attempting to stem the flood.

However, the increasingly more open Marxist controlled events in our higher learning schools is not new. The same thing happened 100 years ago in Russia. What has and is happening in our schools has just been slower, more subtle, and thus more insidious in nature.

Prior to the Russian revolution there was a covert socialist/Marxist/Bolshevik presence in Russian universities. After Russia entered the Great War the agitation in the schools increased and became more overt in the late fall of 1916. When the February revolution broke out and was successful the radical left took over all the schools. Then, after the Bolshevik coup, the effort to expel any opposition by professors and students began, and by the spring of 1918 the Bolsheviks took direct control of the schools.

The troika that Lindsay experienced was the standard method of operation and control in the schools and enforced by the Komsomol under the direction of the education commissary.

So, what happened in Russia in a relatively short time frame has been happening here slowly over a couple of decades and basically come out into the open only recently.

Make no mistake, after they shut up Jordan and Lindsay they will get around to shutting us up. Bill M-103 and the federal refusal to help pay for summer student help unless you tick off the box expressing obedience to full on abortion is all a part of turning up the heat on the pot with the frog in it.

Let’s hope a sufficient number of Canadians will seize the warnings that the likes of Ken and Jordan Peterson and Mark Steyn have been proffering for years. The sheeple are likely too far gone with the “Progressive” indoctrination to wake up though.

And then there’s this. I take it that “alt-right bingo” is played by these post-modernist clowns with the notion being that you get a space filled in every time one of these ridiculous notions is mentioned, you know, things like “Orwellian”, “virtue signalling”, “ideololgical agenda” and my special favourite, “classical”. Anyway, you’ll see for yourself.

Yesterday Lindsay Shepherd posted a very interesting tweet:

Some literature handed out at the panel discussion I was on at @smuhalifax today. The bingo is kind of funny, but it is a SEVERE mistake for these activists to associate terms such as “critical thinking”, “viewpoint diversity”, and “open exchange of ideas” with the alt-right.

A supporter of hers published a related video.

The “Alt-Right Bingo” game the leftists in the audience were playing seems to imply that they think it is hilarious, and cause for derision, to talk about these things:

  • Critical thinking
  • Viewpoint Diversity
  • Open exchange of ideas
  • Traditional values
  • Free speech space

These people apparently grew up in Canada but clearly don’t hold anything resembling Canadian values.

And the same unfortunately also goes for Australia.

C’mon, who’s really clueless about trade?

From Forbes, the kind of thing you find in among Chamber of Commerce types: Trump’s Tariffs Are A Reminder He’s Clueless About Trade. Sure he is, and the evidence keeps piling up day by day. If we lived in a crony-capitalist-free world, and no one ever cheated in their trade relations,* maybe such blanket statements would make sense. But truly lacking in any penetration is the manipulation of arithmetical statistical identities as if they were actual theoretical constructs where a change in one variable is the cause of a change in another. In reality, with such identities, these are accounting balancing items which have no effect on actualities in the real world, but are only a record of what took place.

Now here is where the simple analytics of the trade deficit can be used to prove the cluelessness of the Trump trade team on “trade,” of all things, and the utter futility of its policy prescriptions having any impact on America’s aggregate trade deficit. In economics, identities play an important role. These identities are obtained by equating two different breakdowns of a single aggregate. Identities are interesting, and usually important, by definition. In national income accounting, the following identity can be derived. Indeed, it is the key to understanding the trade deficit.

(Imports – Exports ) ≡ (Investment – Savings) + (Government Spending – Taxes)

Given this identify, which must hold, the trade deficit is equal to the excess of private sector investment over savings, plus the excess of government spending over tax revenue. So the counterpart of the trade deficit is the sum of the private sector deficit and the government deficit (federal + state and local). The U.S. trade deficit, therefore, is just the mirror image of what is happening in the U.S. domestic economy. If expenditures in the U.S. exceed the incomes produced in the U.S., which they do, the excess expenditures will be met by an excess of imports over exports (read: a trade deficit).

This is the same as fiddling with Y=C+I+G and pretending that an increase in G can cause an increase in Y. Complete sophistry. There is much more to say about free trade and I have been meaning to say it for a while. This might therefore be what finally stirs me to spell it out in more detail, but this will have to do for now.

* See, for example, Australia takes Canada to WTO over rules on selling wine. My dual nationality obviously makes it impossible for me to see the rights and wrongs of this, but let me say that no Australian will ever understand the liquor laws of Canada, which were introduced as temporary measures during World War I. There’s a lesson in there as well.