Not the most controversial paragraph in the book

For, at least, one could say of Hitler and his assassins, that they enjoyed their anti-Semitism.  But the Left  proceeds, from day to day, in a sort of sad, wistful fury at all the things of life not recognized in its cosmogony.

That is from David Mamet’s new The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture.

Comments

Wow. You are, no doubt, familiar with Godwin's Law?

I'd be as surprised to hear Tyler hasn't heard of the concept as to hear Mamet has, if this excerpt is anything to go by.

Not to be a pedantic ass, but Godwin's Law (a) doesn't say what you (probably) think it says and (b) isn't applicable here anyway:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

That's it. That's Godwin's Law; that's the whole thing.

Does he lean libertarian or traditionalist?

*spit take*

Wow, crazy sauce. I clicked through to the Amazon link to make sure I was getting it right. He's got this sort of half-digested Nietzschean view:

"This is the essence of Leftist thought. It is a devolution from reason to "belief," in an effort to stave off a feeling of powerlessness. And if government is Good, it is a logical elaboration that more government power is Better. But the opposite is apparent both to anyone who has ever had to deal with Government and, I think, to any dispassionate observer. "

Not saying it's true, but that is the way it seems from the outside.

Funny how many people on the right tend to identify liberalism as the "pro-government" stance when liberals tend to view the right-wing as pro-government for their anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and incredible callousness towards human rights.

Its worht noting that 99% of this is a fraud. Not only do most liberals/conservatives not fit the policy that their respective parties represent in office, but the very notion of one side being "less" government oriented is absurd - and this fully encompasses the "anarcho-capitalists," that is the "libertarian" economic centralists who support property rights above all other system of rights.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/thoughts-on-freedom/stop-the-bad-guys/

how are gay marriage and the extension of 'human rights'[1] not an increase in gov't?

[1] like free healthcare for all?

Its worht noting that 99% of this is a fraud. Not only do most liberals/conservatives not fit the policy that their respective parties represent in office, but the very notion of one side being “less” government oriented is absurd,

Evidence?

[1] like free healthcare for all?

That's not viewed as a human rights issue over here. I'm guessing you haven't heard of torture and restrictions on immigration.

Evidence?

Tom Ferguson does a good job here: http://books.google.com/books/about/Golden_rule.html?id=CU8oyIlNyQcC

If most liberals / conservatives do not fit the policy of their parties in office then why do they vote for these parties? Why don't the parties have an incentive to change policy to fit the desire of their votebank?

Because money speaks louder than votes.

Or because a two-party system is too stupid to track all the various axes of a modern voter's desires?

I guess that's possible, but I'm sure it isn't as important as the issue of graft. But if you were looking for the "2 parties are bad" answer in the first place, why beat around the bush?

Actually, being anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and callous about human rights is part of the Republican's method of winning over left-leaning working class people. Go to a rich country club in Republican country, and then go to a Detroit auto factory in Democrat country, and see what people's views are: You will find that the Republicans have the more "liberal" views, and hardcore Democrat union auto workers have the more "right-wing" views. Manufactured pandering to the social conservatives is actually what gives Republicans "street cred" with the working class man on the street.

"left-leaning working class people"

Find me a correlation between restrictive abortion policy and leftist economic policy in the US and I might believe you. But the complete opposite seems to be the case, of course. Quit grasping.

Mamet has never been a liberal and more than likely he is running a con of some sort, possibly emotional but more likely for a particular gig. His forte is human corruption. His "Spanish Prisoner" and "House of Games" are specifically about confidence games and "Glengarry Glen Ross" is all about power, not love and human potential.

Watch what he does not what he says.

I'm not sure why you have to add the slur "half-digested", other than you are only keen to attack DM and wax indignant. Isn't this precisely a Nietzschean insight, namely that while (or when) we think we are being reasonable, reasoning creatures, there are other factors (amour-propre, will, etc etc) at work? I'd say that folks on both the left and the right -- indeed many people no matter what their political leanings -- commit this fallacy that DM identifies, the "devolution from reason to 'belief'"... Ever try criticizing Marx, let alone Chomsky, to a leftist? They sputter and rage, because we've now entered the realm of belief/faith. They only rarely want reason, evidence, argumentation etc. to apply in that realm.

Actually, it so happens that most criticisms of Marx and Chomsky tend to come from completely unreasonable edifices. On the former, the only legitimate criticism I've encountered are some technical arguments about his models and some moral issues about worker management in a pluralist society. On the latter, the only rational criticism I've seen has been related to his ability o be obtuse about certain theories... although his so-called "postmodernism" isn't absurd by any means, either.

In any case, you've rejected your own (very elitist) model: you are engaging in your own obfuscation by claiming that "leftists" "sputter and rage" when Marx or Chomsky are criticized. Perhaps if the criticism came from anything besides a proto-fascist pedestrian outlook, you might get better responses.

Actually, it so happens that most criticisms of Marx and Chomsky tend to come from completely unreasonable edifices. On the former, the only legitimate criticism I’ve encountered are some technical arguments about his models and some moral issues about worker management in a pluralist society

... lol?

This guy...this is not my kind of guy.

Mamet has gone Zionist and is hoping to cash in with yet another book in the tired genre of how the Libruls are stupid or worse and worthy of the highest scorn. This is not worthy of commentary.

Then why did you comment? Liberuls are not stupid but they are generally intolerant and insuffrable. Like Frum, sometimes it takes an ex-pat to point out the disturbing traits of a group.

What is your evidence that avarice drives his motives? The man made a career out of his dialogue and diction. I doubt that he would hold back those skills from his honestly felt political manifesto.

Tyler, do you recommend the book?

I have often wondered why people trust or even cares what someone who admits they have been wrong most of their life, says. In everything except politics and finance, we judge people competence by how often they are right.

Um... and if you have two fanatics of different sorts, they both have been 'right' their whole life? Puzzling...

Except that politics is not science or business... it is closer to religion. People admit their political views are wrong about as often as they admit that their god is false.

Orwell "got it wrong" in his early years. We still like the the books he later wrote.

I am going to check back often just to read these comments. Dyspeptic.

joan has nailed it, but the Right proceeds, from day to day, in a sort of angry, vengeful fury at all the things of life not recognized in its cosmogony.

Professor Cowen:

Bloomberg recently had a short piece about you, so I dropped by your site to see if there was anything there. Frankly, I was saddened: so much talent and nothing to show for it and little prospect for the future.

It seems to me that you have the same flaws are the liberal academic world at which you appear to be at war, of which the principle one is that you have no filters. Having no filters you have no judgment and thus are unable to sense what is flawed in your own thinking.

What do I mean by filters? I mean tools to avoid psychological mistakes like paying attention to what a lot of people say. The great advocate of this approach to life is Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's partner. If you have not read and do not practice his approach, take the time to read his Harvard Law School Speech, the Psychology of Human Misjudgment. Overly simplified, Munger teaches to disregard all the self-serving crap served up by anyone.

Thus, while he and Buffett are the greatest stock buyers of all time, they do not read offering circulars and or prospectuses and would never pay attention to any stock broker, real estate broker, etc.

Being a lawyer, I cannot say why universities no longer teach the importance of filters, but I have a theory.

I can only say that I know when it happened in the legal world and that is concurrent with the rise of the right wing reaction to the Warren Court.

A daily reader of commercial and insurance law appellate opinions before 1960 will be extraordinarily impressed with the intellectual tools developed by the judiciary to cut through the crap offered up by businesses to justify amoral, illegal, and unethical conduct. Self-serving BS got nowhere.

Business couldn't change such politically because it had no honest answers. That changed in the 1960s when the Warren Court applied these tools to other litigants (civil rights and crime). By the end of the 1960s Nixon saw that he could build a coalition of dishonesty, the silent majority, which is the core of the Republican Party today. Nixon aimed to build, and the effort is now complete, a core base of support which wholly lacked intellectual honesty but instead combines the three most amoral forces in our society: business, especially big business, racism, and the authoritarian personality and the 40% +/- of people who psychologically are opposed to Modernity. Everything narrowly in the law and broadly in Society became ad hoc result oriented and every psychological tool was sharped to this end. It becomes really funny when one reads, at times, the posters on FreeRepublic being confronted with realty---Supreme Court opinions that expand the rights of the police to search or Net Neutrality.

If you think that businesses today are anything other than amoral I would urge you to read Neoclassical Economics and the Erosion of Middle-Class Values: An Explanation for Economic Collapse by John Mixon, available on SSRN at

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1681159

The response of Liberals to this development, while perhaps understandable, was poor. Perhaps the Center of Gravity was the Vietnam War.

Perhaps (which is what I expect) it was the corruption that in our wealthy society, there was really money to be made as a teacher, but all filters disappeared from our colleges and universities. I ran into this in the late 1970s. I taught, briefly in a law school and decided to leave for private practice because our recently Harvard educated faculty had no filters, albeit I would not have used that mental model at the time. I was teaching in a small southern state that had no investment infrastructure (no private investment, venture capital, no angel net work, nothing). The state legislature, at some one's urging, was looking at adopting the model state securities law. The faculty was into rubber stamping this because of social proof---we are up-to-date---we have adopted the model law (and it would be easy to teach). I thought the approach was nuts. The state had spent real tax payer $$$ and imported some bright young law teachers and I thought that, instead of acting for their narrowest short term self interest, the concerned faculty ought to get off their butts and develop laws that would promote investment, which the state desperately needed (its per capita income is still 20% below US average).

Not too many years ago the state supreme court, comprised of students of these faculty members, applied the Model Securities law in a criminal case is a literal fashion and in such a punitive way that no sane person would try to raise investment money in the state. I suspect that the resulting underinvestment is a principal reason why the current Depression has really hammered this Southeastern state. But what do I know--while I have a lot of first hand knowledge, I am not a disinterested observer, for that reason.

The point of my story has a conclusion. When money became the issue, the teaching of filters became a two edged sword. If I used that sword on Sue in the Biology Department, someone could use that sword on me in the Physics Department. The result has been, for example, the situation we have now about Climate Change. Only a fool would argue that greenhouse gases are not causing (or have no real potential for Climate change) and, at the same time, only a fool listen to our current crop of "experts," who are totally compromised because of the money that have made and stand to make, if they can produce a crisis.

In sum, I apply Munger's rules, always. I never pay attention to anyone who calls him or her self a conservative nor do I pay any attention to business voices, people who are paid to say what that keep repeating. And, I disregard most everything that comes out of our universities for pretty much the same reason.

That leads me to your "book." Frankly, I haven't read all of it. I followed your technique and read enough to make a judgment. I read enough to conclude: (a) it has no "science" to it, principally because, like most economics it is bias and prejudice dressed up to look like science (I hope you have the honesty to admit that economics is not science and that, at best, it is thought experiment based psychology); (b) it was written because it was clever idea that will give you public prominence; and (c) it is of no use, to anyone (even if we have harvested the low hanging fruit I still have to go to work and make a living today).

As for its premise, I reject such for two reasons.

First, the distribution of income is entirely, solely, and completely a political question. The problems in our society have arise because our income distribution has become some distorted through about of the political process by the rich. Since the rules of the game we reset by Reagan in the 1980s, our decline has been the work of Fiscal Adjustment Cost as described by Robert Dugger

http://economicsonfire.com/commentaries/fiscal-adjustment-cost-discounting-could-make-qe2-contractionary/

If you have not read Dugger's work, you need to become familiar with his thinking. As Dugger well explains, businesses, anticipating the assured fiscal crisis, have not been investing for now 30 years.

Second, you very well know that you have no means or method by which to judge what growth technology will permit. My son just finished engineering school. While estimates differ on the timelines, all are in agreement that within a 20 to 50 year horizon we will have a straight line up (no more slopping trend lines) for economic growth because machines will be able, through robotics and large scale application of nanotechnology to build, repair, and replace themselves. In the last few years we have progress from ink jet printers to machines that use the same concepts and titanium metal powder to make components that previously had to be manufactured. In sum, we are on the verge of productivity revolution similar to what we now have in computers. I know that I have so much technology in my law office that I could do the work today of 10 lawyers when I was licensed in 1974 and 100 lawyers in 1900 (all the inefficiencies in the service work arise from a lack of demand, and other inefficiencies (which are endless), so we do a lot of make work activity).

In sum, cut the crap and do something useful.

We need to restore confidence and find the means and methods for making all parts of our society (public and private) effective.

Cleaver links to idiots who think we should be talking about "free banking" show you lack serious purpose or intent. (Free banking will not work in 21st century America because no lawyer would ever advise any client to trust any private person with such sums of money, for as soon as you do they will steal it. For example, we now have free banking at title insurance companies when you deposit funds in escrow to buy a new house or commercial property. The title companies issue checks (but such is the same practically and legally as currency). Such is 100% reserved because anyone with a brain requires the title insurance company to get an insured closing letter from its underwriter. See TRW v Security Title, 153 F.3d 822 That there is any academic discussion of "free banking" shows the lack of judgment of you and the others at that site. instead of a positive link you ought to list them under "lacking judgment and insight"

Best regards
JLD

JLD-

You are a pompous blowhard. Please filter yourself.

How hilarious that you have fetishized the word "filters" as something unique and useful, when it really means that you prefer to live in an echo chamber of your own creation and not listen to the opinions of anyone with whom you might disagree. You encourage Tyler to "do something useful." I encourage you to seek therapy. You could also, of course, start your own blog and see what quality and quantity of readers you attract. I think you'd find the marketplace a bit bare, however.

My thoughts exactly. If everyone subscribed to "filtering" as JLD seems to, there would be no discussion or debate and very little chance for us to learn from one another. Plus, what an odd blog post to choose for this comment.

Gah! Wall of Text FAIL.

Jesus on a jetpack... Happy Friday Tyler!

"I never pay attention to anyone who calls him or her self a conservative nor do I pay any attention to business voices, people who are paid to say what that keep repeating. And, I disregard most everything that comes out of our universities for pretty much the same reason."

And yet he apparently believes everything he reads in the New York Times, or hears on MSNBC, as well as the warm, reasoned, borderline-psychotic voices he hears in his own head.

This is the worst comment I've ever read. Are you done masturbating now?

Overly simplified, Munger teaches to disregard all the self-serving crap served up by anyone.

That sounds like good advice, in a way. I have some similar advice that I'm sure you have heard before: Buy low, sell high.

It becomes really funny when one reads, at times, the posters on FreeRepublic being confronted with realty—Supreme Court opinions that expand the rights of the police to search or Net Neutrality.

?? If you want to disregard self-serving crap, why would you look at FreeRepublic? Something is not adding up here....

Only a fool would argue that greenhouse gases are not causing (or have no real potential for Climate change) and, at the same time, only a fool listen to our current crop of “experts,” who are totally compromised because of the money that have made and stand to make, if they can produce a crisis.

So, you have a dilemma. There's reason to think we are facing a crisis. But anybody who has any possible chance to do anything effective about the (possible) crisis, is discredited because he just might make a living while he works on the crisis. Your philosophy has driven you to a dead end.

While estimates differ on the timelines, all are in agreement that within a 20 to 50 year horizon we will have a straight line up (no more slopping trend lines) for economic growth because machines will be able, through robotics and large scale application of nanotechnology to build, repair, and replace themselves.

You believe this? But aren't the people who proclaim it all self-serving? They are the priests who benefit if you worship at their altar, after all.

I know that I have so much technology in my law office that I could do the work today of 10 lawyers when I was licensed in 1974 and 100 lawyers in 1900 (all the inefficiencies in the service work arise from a lack of demand, and other inefficiencies (which are endless), so we do a lot of make work activity).

So, there is a lack of demand etc, and you can do the work of 100 lawyers, and so you do a lot of make work activity. Why are you telling us this?

By your standard, I should not have read past the third paragraph of your comment. But I disagree. We will not get out of our problems with the same thinking we used to get into them. It isn't clear what will help to find the new ideas that might work better. We could do worse than listen to fools who lack the particular blinders our experts have chosen.

And besides, it's kind of fun.

I'd add a relevant quote from RA Lafferty's _Fourth Mansions_ but I don't remember it exactly and I'm not willing to misquote it. I highly recommend that book to you, and to everybody who can find it. Without hyperbole I say it is likely the most significant achievement of the last 100 years. If you can accept its postulates, even temporarily on a what-if basis, it will change your life forever.

Focus is your friend.

Lighten up, Francis.

Argh. This is like reading the worst of the worst, self-indulgent, student evaluations. Except this person is old enough to know better.

How do you know?

What do you mean, "how do I know?" Do you mean the student evaluation part or the author ought to know better part? It reads like some student evaluations I have read, where the writer is mostly interested in their own indignation about something.

The author is older. I would argue that being older means you should be wiser (though obviously that isn't always the case) because you should by a certain age have learned to temper your outbursts. The author is also sloppy. He hasn't finished TC's book, and also accuses him of scientism, though anyone who has read TC regularly knows that TC practices a kind of fairly unique econ.-as-intellectual-history, rather than econ. as a science, approach.

I was referring to your last sentence, which struck me as odd because your first two were on the money. If I asked you to choose whether this was written by 1.) somebody who's been practicing law for 37 years, or 2.) a precocious sophmore with a few too many humanities core credits, my guess is you'd reconsider the "old enough to know better" business. I'll concede it's entirely possible one of JLD's grandparents passed the bar in 1974.

Perhaps I should have asked, "Are you sure?"

JLD, Fo sheezy mah neezy!!! Please let us know how to contact you. With them filter thingies you've got, you must be some kind of kick ass attorney. In the event that I need some filteriffic counsel, you're the man for me. But maybe in twenty years we won't need lawyers, god be praised, since with those straight up trend lines it will be all universal opulence and no one will need to fight over anything. In the unlikely event of controversy, maybe the nanobots could cover that for us too.

So corporations are completely corrupt and amoral and they have managed to use the government to destroy our education system and the teaching of "filters" yet it is a good idea to be a democrat and expand government in all the directions(including centralized federal education spending) favored by mainstream democrats? and we also need to restore confidence in the system? even though it is totally corrupted? and we should also support the corrupt alliance of big government and the biggest banks to control the money supply under the cover of complete secrecy?

I am confused by JLD

Wow. JLD's comment is a good reason why not to go to law school.

It's not easy to read a critical theory essay typed on a Blackberry; even less so to type one. Kudos. Other than that, sadly, Affe beat me to it.

I wrote this post for several reasons:

First, my overall purpose was to challenge both conservatives and libertarians to point out that they add nothing to our public discourse. In the history of the World there is no top ten list of great conservative actors on the Stage of Life or top ten list of conservative ideas (Burke, while now claimed as a conservative, was a Liberal)

All the founding fathers that mattered were liberal,progressive, protectors of Modernity, albeit some fought such (Jefferson). Lincoln was a liberal--his greatest act--the Proclamation---was absolutely unconstitutional by any test. No one did (or can) offer any defense of conservatism. It is not even bankrupt of ideas (to go bankrupt implies that once it had ideas).

Liberals are worth considering, but with substantial skepticism. I always try to recall one practice of Franklin. While as an adult he was a non-church attending Deist, he never attempted to "wither Christianity by ridicule or bludgeon it to death by argument" and it is reported that he was generally the largest contributor to the costs of constructing new churches, regardless of creed. In sum, what we all need is a more than healthy dose of self-reflection (which was entirely absent from all those who didn't want to hear what I had to say).

Thus, I offer the following summary, of which my post showed:

1) Tyler Cowan is talented enough, but is doing absolutely nothing with that talent (no one disagreed)

2) to show that his current book is bs and of no use---no one made a serious counter argument. One writer wanted to apply the idea of filters to estimates about when machines will be able to build and repair themselves on large scales, ending limits on growth, but offered no case that those making such estimates are actually affected by bias or self interest. For example, no one is demanding research money now to head off the crisis when machines will be able to build and repair themselves.

3) people who post on the list are close minded, not capable of rapid, supported, thinking that challenges their fundamental mind set and that their only tool is projection (someone argued that I was committed to the NYTimes (sorry as a reader of the news sections of the WSJ, Forbes, IBD, and FT, the NYT is too left wing for me)

4) to show the specific failure of our universities---they don't teach judgment

5) to show that we are at a dead end and in crisis politically because a non-filtered public debate leads to a "dead end." There are not two sides to every story or event. 9999 out of 10000 times there is only one side. Neither making public policy nor journalism is suited to how we decide criminal charges.

Last, I didn't write this post for the readers, I wrote it for Professor Cowan. He may not like what I say but he will have to read Munger and Dugger (I noticed no one was familiar with the work of either, which really shows how closed minded readers here happen to be---both got past my filters. Why have they been blocked by yours?

You have delighted us long enough.

JLD,

Jefferson may be the single greatest human being ever. If all he did was pen The Declaration, that would put him with Adam Smith and Newton. There are plenty of people who were called liberal in their day who would be called conservative by today's wacko progressives who are fighting to conserve broken government ponzi schemes.

But let's stick with your criticism of Tyler. First of all, he's doing fine. You must not have been paying attention. But, my real problem with your criticism of Tyler is that if one had to pick a criticism, it is too obvious to complain that he lacks filters. Because not filter is what he does. It is what makes him great.

Btw, JLD, I'm well aware of Charlie Munger's contributions. I have his list posted on my wall and refer to it often. But do you know how a filter works? It contacts the media and lets the right bits through. It can't work without contacting the media. That's what Tyler does. He's just got a big-ass filter.

Well, you were certainly correct about having filters. You really might want to consider removing some, before the echo-chamber that is your mind gets to lasing levels and your head explodes.

OK, he enjoyed his anti-semitism, and his anti-smoking views were sound. But he became very unsound on the subject of sausages. And aggressive wars.

Leftist "anti-semites"? Sounds like the same race-baiting that clouds everybody's favorite Mideast malaise.

Israel is a progressive, secular, left-leaning social democracy, with the relatively highest standards of human rights for that region. The Mideast nations and Islamist organizations that oppose Israel are right-wing religious extremists who want to either preserve a hereditary monarchy or create a regressive theocracy.

Why, when the left are willing to ignore and/or excuse the worst excesses of virtually every left-wing dictator in history, in this one obscure situation side against the left-wing progressives and for the right-wing reactionary religious extremists? The simplest and easiest answer is "racism". If you don't agree, then please explain this anomalous behavior by the left with some other explanation.

I am completely willing to listen to and possibly believe in any non-racism based explanation for why leftists are so un-characteristically hateful of Israel. I am totally open minded about this. Give me a good answer and I will listen and consider it carefully. But don't dare pretend that the racism hypothesis isn't a reasonable answer... that is just plain dumb. Any reasonable person, who is looking for reasons for the double-standard, are naturally going to strongly consider racism as a possibility.

"simplest and easiest answer is “racism”."

Leftists have a tendency to oppose ethnic cleansing. Even if it is done in the name of "socialism." Not sure what makes you think that opposition to ethnic cleansing on the one hand implies being "for the right-wing reactionary religious extremists."

For me, I tend to look at whomever has the greatest influence in order to determine who is to blame for this or that crisis. Given the generalized marginalization of the Palestinian actors, its hard to take the western hysteria against "Muslims" as the primary creators of the conflict there. No doubt that Syrian and Iranian influence have some blame, but I would say that Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are far more damaging.

But none of them trump Israel in terms of net bodies, net human rights abuses, net theft, and net aggravation of the conflict in general.

Furthermore, Israel's prosperity and character as comparatively democratic and liberal are the direct result of the level of living standards, prosperity, etc., much of which is artificially limited on the Palestinian side (embargoes, withholding currency, theft of arable land, near-complete withholding of west bank water sources, hundreds of roadblocks stifling industry etc. etc. ) and artificially expanded on the Israeli side via massive subsidies and European capital.

How do you expect a destitute population to create an advanced nation state rivaling that of its belligerent neighbor, which hosts one of the most important Intel manufacturing centers?

The fact is that Israel is the resolution of a racist European program meant to dispossess Jews and send them overseas - and the Europeans had no qualms about dispossessing someone else to make the transition smoother. And as the preeminent conflict-generator, Israel needs to change first and foremost to foster freedom and liberalism in the occupied territories.

"But none of them trump Israel in terms of net bodies, net human rights abuses"

Huh? Get a clue.

The Syrian regime probably trumped them in net bodies and net human rights abuses - against their own people! - just in the last month.

Of course, given the thick layer of censorship over the media in Syria, you probably have less information from it than from the West Bank, which attracts journalists from the entire world for decades.

I see the problem, you're just nuts.

Careless, the way this blog displays for me, gives no indication whatsoever which of the previous posters you are responding to.

And I can't tell from context, either. It's a topic where people normally tell people on other sides that they're nuts, whichever side they're on.

So by failing to say who you are talking to you reduce the information content of your post. If you said who you were talking about then your post would show one of the sides you are against, and essentially nothing more. But without that it shows only that you care enough to post.

Israel is a progressive, secular, left-leaning social democracy, with the relatively highest standards of human rights for that region.

You have listened to propaganda without actually finding out anything about Israel. They aren't that progressive, and not as much as they used to be. They aren't all that secular. They have the best human rights in the world for Jewish people, but worse than the middle east average for arabs.

Why, when the left are willing to ignore and/or excuse the worst excesses of virtually every left-wing dictator in history, in this one obscure situation side against the left-wing progressives and for the right-wing reactionary religious extremists?

That I couldn't tell you. I don't begin to understand why "the left" does what they do. Possibly it might have something to do with leftists in Israel losing out to Israeli right-wing reactionary religious extremists? I dunno.

My own concern is that US support for Israel is directly opposed to US interests. In the middle east, Israel is our boat anchor which makes it much harder for us to do anything significant. It also serves as an IFF signal, wherever we go in the middle east, Israel is screaming out "HERE'S THE USA, YOUR ENEMY, RIGHT HERE! THIS IS YOUR US ENEMY TRYING TO DO SOMETHING!".

I don't so much begrudge them selling our secret military technology to the USSR, or spying on us to get more secret military technology to sell to China. I don't so much mind that we depended on them for only two big intelligence items, 9/11 and Iraq's nuclear program, and they completely let us down both times.

OK, I take it back. I do begrudge them those things. But the big deal is that they have nothing whatsoever to offer the USA and they are a giant liability out of all proportion to their size, and we give them completely unqualified support anyway.

Every now and then somebody says that Israel does offer stuff for the USA. Like, there are a bunch of US-trained Israeli engineers in Israel who make copies of US weapons, except if it wasn't for Israel they'd be working in the USA. And there's a big Intel facility in Israel, which would probably otherwise be in the USA. And the USA could use Israel like a giant aircraft carrier, except that in practice we have never been able to do that (for the Gulf war or Iraq etc) because it would cause too many problems with our actual allies.

And there's the argument that when we give money to Israel, they use a fraction of it to buy US weapons, which provides US jobs. Yes, and if you gave me a house you could pay yourself to be my housemaid and then you'd have paying work. Sheesh.

I guess that's one of the things I begrudge them the most. They come up with utterly stupid arguments for why I should support them, and expect me to believe them. It's insulting.

"Like, there are a bunch of US-trained Israeli engineers in Israel who make copies of US weapons"
That's interesting. Care to point at specific items?

Is anything worse than a born-again conservative? I blame the left.

This is the worst garbage i've ever seen you post. And I generally like your perspectives to balance my apparently demented and retarded liberal leaning diseased mind.

I assumed Tyler posted this to show just how insane the Mamet book is - no?

You've made a common error. Link =/= Endorsement.

Sorry, Sebastion, that was intended for Adam.

Okay, but why promote it? Is it of any useful substance? Why not throw up a link to the Westboro Baptist Church while you're at it.

Adam -

Your comments

1. This is the worst garbage i’ve ever seen you post. And I generally like your perspectives to balance my apparently demented and retarded liberal leaning diseased mind.

2. Okay, but why promote it? Is it of any useful substance? Why not throw up a link to the Westboro Baptist Church while you’re at it.

Care to elaborate? Why is it garbage? How is this connected to the Westboro Baptist Church? Maybe your reasoning is too subtle for a wingnut to understand. Enlighten me.

Rich - can't speak for Adam but
"Why is it garbage?"
Let's put aside all the obvious things about how comparing your political opponents to Hitler trivializes the crimes of the 3rd Reich, how it exemplifies what Tyler has called the Jacksonian mode of discourse: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/11/mr-style-guide.html , how it is quite poorly written - full of banal turns of phrase (day-to-day, things of life) and convoluted interjections - let's put all of this aside: The premise of the whole quote is nonsense. Anyone who is even somewhat familiar with Hitler, his biography, writing, and speeches, knows that his anti-semitism was not joyful, but driven by paranoia and self-pitying whining. (But Mamet doesn't actually read anything of substance anymore - he says - so no wonder he isn't aware of this).

"How is this connected to the Westboro Baptist Church?"
I take it Adam means that, like WBC, Mamet's new book it's provocation for provocation's sake, which is best met by ignoring it.

So you read the book, eh?

no, haven't read the book and don't plan to - I saw some of his earlier plays which were fine, but I never thought they were as exciting as people made them out to be. He was interviewed in the NYT magazine and there was a Weekly Standard article about him (he mentions not reading in both) - I feel I definitely know all I need to, probably more.

"I generally like your perspectives to balance my apparently demented and retarded liberal leaning diseased mind."

Look at it this way, you've retained enough sense to self-diagnose so the final few cells are not quite atrophied.

Sebastian -- you claim that Mamet hasn't read anything of substance. Where does he say this? And what about his reading of Hayek? Doesn't that count?

"I went to a consultant a few years back, and he said, “You want to make your life better?” I said, “Yeah, sure.” He said, “Stop drinking and don’t read the newspapers.” So I did both."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/magazine/david-mamet-talks-about-his-shift-to-the-right.html
so he might still be reading books - but talking about politics without actually reading the paper is a bit rich to start with. His knowledge about "liberals" by the way comes from:
“I drive around and listen to the talk show guys,” he said. “Beck, Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved.”
http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/converting-mamet_561048.html?nopager=1

Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

That's what I was going to say. Mamet has always been a hack and his line is an obvious paraphrase from the Big Lebowski line just as most of his lines have their antecedents. The line goes further back than that, though. "Say what you will about Hitler but at least..." is an old, formulaic comedy line. For instance, Larry David said "Say what you will about Hitler, I like the way he didn't take any shit from mimes." The Coen brothers rendered the best version of that joke. Mamet comes along and, as usual, pretends to mine originality out of an old joke by stripping it of its humor.

yep

Though I think Mamet is still hilarious, albeit unintentionally. "Wistful fury" has to be one of the stupidest adjective/noun combinations of all time.

I believe the 2nd sentence in the quoted paragraph to be factually incorrect. They seem to enjoy themselves just fine.

The first sentence is probably also incorrect. From what I've seen the Nazis did seem to agonize over their "final solution." They clearly didn't agonize enough. That may be an understatement of the magnitude that one Irishman would say "That Hitler sure was a character."

It would be nice if we could let go of the specifics so to deal with generalities to deal with the possibility that 'it could happen here' and 'it could happen again.' I still don't understand how people could sit idly by, so all I can really say is 'it won't happen while I live.' But that assumes I see it coming. The recent fuss over head scarves makes me think Europe's motto should be "Europe: We still just don't quite get it."

I suggest reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel if you haven't already.

Funny guy that MAMET
http://www.csulb.edu/~kmacd/review-AR.html

Some of you are upset by this rather benign observation?

Some have yet to learn the axiom: Smelt it | Dealt it.

The level of Da Vinci Code conspiracy theory thinking going on these days is astounding. What's next, the Mason's are going to figure out how to use the force to commune with the dead, install glenn beck as their prophet leader, find the holy grail which was stored in a chamber under the great salt lake by the knights templar, use it to obtain immortality, ushering in the end of days..

Hilarious! Thanks for getting my Friday started with some good humor!

Pal, you owe me a brand new keyboard. Margaritas and humor like that don't mix with electronics.

You have to hand it to "controversial." The word simultaneously incites, exaggerates, capitalizes upon and washes it hands of any responsibility for/judgment of that which it purportedly describes. What a coup of multitasking—those just happen to be the four core elements of optimal blog post! The rare leftist sufficiently disciplined to settle on a single adjective with which to describe Mamet's sentiment here would probably go with something so tiresomely literal like "inane" or "ludicrous" or "deranged" or "degenerate", perhaps after racking the brain for a term that might more evocatively acknowledge the depravity at the heart of so much of this sort of ubiquitous nonsense talk…"gaseous", anyone? Whatevs. Andrew is right. The Left brought it on itself, especially feminists.

Oh God. Mamet just realized it. "The Left" doesn't know how its own engine works. Not, the left, not feminist "c---s," etc... a faulty component in its own engine and too much high speeds (etc.) makes it crash every time. Wow, I thought "the Left" knew that.

Jesus... and "the Left's" enablers, the small ugly troll-like pump jockeys (the ragin cajun seemed alright actually) that it allows in its tent so it doesn't have to feel self-conscious about its dreaded "ideals" (dreaded b/c they have been attacked not b/c they are badly formed.) Yeah, feminism probably hasn't helped but neither has Catholicism or the Elektra Complex, and don't get me started about the internet... And "the Left" talks of cu ts like it has some control. What a tragedy.

Mamet is a poor man's Pinter - He just swears a lot and thinks that makes him hip. Glengarry was ok, but even that was overrated.

He is saying here that he was a worse than Hitler liberal himself - until he saw that light. Pretty dark feeling to have. He must really hate half this country - like a lot of present day conservatives.

As an aside, Mamet does not really use the word "cosmogony" properly. This kind of mistake is typical of him - He has has a cult following for a long time and he has gotten used to fans clucking approval at everything he says.

Moe is on point about the banal use of "controversial" too.

The jocund Hitlarians that populate Mamet's overrated imagination really seem to be having a posthumous victory of sorts as latter day chickenhawks credit them with the power of positive thinking.

Mamet claims inspiration from W. Chambers. Ironically Whittaker Chambers sounded the alarm about this kind fantastical right wing nonsense. He would probably regard Mamet much the same as he regarded Ayn Rand..

Who's to say the Left doesn't enjoy its fury?

Yeah, sure, but that supposes the left has choice in its furies. One can convince oneself to "enjoy" anything if one's been saddled with it for long enough.

Mamet is an entertainer, and so I'm going to assume he's not worth listening to.

Marx or Chomsky---which had the most unproductive life---is that the question?

Mamet has never been a liberal and more than likely he is running a con of some sort, possibly emotional but more likely for a particular gig. His forte is human corruption. His “Spanish Prisoner” and “House of Games” are specifically about confidence games and “Glengarry Glen Ross” is all about power, not love and human potential.

Watch what he does not what he says.

This shows which they last very much lengthier and thus saving you income which could otherwise are actually utilized to purchase new ones.
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