The Coasean culture that is northern Virginia

A homeowner took to a message board Sunday to complain about her neighbor’s sign supporting the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The anonymous homeowner said his or her family lived in a liberal part of Northern Virginia and were putting their house up for sale. The homeowner feared that the Trump sign would scare away potential buyers, and asked on the message board whether it was appropriate to ask the neighbor to take down the sign.

…The question proved popular, and elicited 10 pages of responses. Some commenters, in more offensive terms, said the anonymous poster was being ridiculous to even think this was in issue; others suggested the homeowner wait until after the election to sell the house. Still others said they would not want to buy a house next to a Trump supporter.

And the denouement?

But somehow, amid this divisive election, peace was found.  The homeowner reported back later Monday that she or he talked to the neighbor, and the neighbor seemed understanding of the predicament and removed the sign. The neighbor was an elderly woman who apparently didn’t even like Trump much. She was, however, married to a big Trump fan who was not home at the time. It is unclear how her husband felt about her decision to remove the sign.

Coasean or non-Coasean?, you tell me.

Here is the full story, via Dan R.

Comments

I'm having a hard time imagining a place where a Trump sign lasts long enough in non-sparsely populated rural land for this to be an issue, but that's my bubble.

This incident is entirely consistent with this description of Clinton supporters.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/152293480726/the-bully-party

I've been following Scott Adams for a while, and he is becoming progressively unhinged.

He exhibits the most extreme confirmation bias I've ever seen, clutching at the strangest interpretations of the tiniest events as supporting his views, all the while explaining how the rest of the world is suffering from confirmation bias and so they can't see the truth.

He uses clasic straw man arguments.

He thinks that Trump is a 'Master Persuader' despite Trump persuading less people to vote Republican than pretty much any previous Republican candidate.

In this article, he refers to proof of Democrat incitement to violence which, if you look into it, consists of a staged film in which the stooge suggests that if the Democrats can get someone into a Trump raly wearing a Democrat T-shirt, Trump supporters will punch them. And he presents this as proof of Democrat violent tendancies.

He complains of significant threats personally, and I suppose he has recieved some. He has turned his comments off, but when they were on, they used to fill with massive numbers of mostly pro-Trump comments within half an hour, many of which were obscenely anti-muslim and anti-left.

I am not in the US, and not a voter, and am pretty central in my politics. I find much of Scott's writing thought provocing. He appears to be losing it in a most entertaining way.

I'm sure if he read this he would think I'm a Democrat contractor paid to undermine him, maybe under instruction from Hillary herself. I haven't used enough key words to be under instruction of ''Godzilla' who is secretly winning the PR battle. You wonder why they both with Godzilla when they have it all riigged anyway.

I've read Scott Adams for seven years, I used to consider him a very interesting writer, but, yeah, he seems to get ever more unhinged and it seems to have little to do with supporting Trump per se (yes, righthe was supporting Clinton, "for his own safety", and now Johnson for whatever-- OK, then). If he used the kind of reasoning to (really) support Clinton or Johnson, it would still be crazy. Besides, most of the intellectual supporters of Trump, so to speak, sound sane even if one may think they are misguided, they don't sound like someone reading a Vice magazine aloud hoping it is the Necronomicon.

Some people reacting negatively to things Trump says? It is "Clinton's people" acting on social media. Some people reacting negatively to Clinton speeches or Obama's Administration? Trump is a master persuader, who took the high ground and brilliantly framed whatever in a brilliant whatevery way. I thought maybe some Americans think this way and some Americans think that way-- that is why Americans have different political parties, ideologies and philosophical stances (liberalism, conservatism, environmentalism, feminism, Fundamentalism, guns rights)--, and different Americans react in different ways, but no, everywhere there must be the footprints of Clinton's "Godzilla" or the mark of Trump's magical wand. Seriously, he is getting a little scary.

Scott Adams or Scott Sumner? How do you 'read' a cartoon?

Scott Adams' BLOG. And cartoons usually have speech balloons (Brazilian ones, the best in the world, have, at any rate).

Unhinged? I think he's just really pissed off and probably rightly so.

So are lots of other Trump's supporters (or former Sanders' supporters or even Clinton's supporters-- they are mad at the "deplorables"), but they don't sound like they are talking about how pixies and fairies-- and Godzilla of course-- will choose the next president. Seriously, if he started raving about how Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort are literally casting electoral spells, it wouldn't be much crazier. I think I had already mentioned that other Trump supporters, as misguided as someone may think they are, doesn't sound like Adams. I really don't know what happened to him, but it is terrifying -- there but for the grace of God go I.

(guy who is NOT a certified master hypnotist)

I, for one, don't claim any magical powers, either.

Losing it or spot on, you make the call:

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/152337049156/watch-the-persuasion-battle

He supports the biggest bully because he is anti-bullying?

His experience of this election is not that of most voters. There is little bullying among most voters, it is in the media, and he has put himself there. His confirmation bias results in him classifying all sorts of events as bullying when he thinks he's being bullied, just as he sees "master persuaders" when he wants to. Some events probably are bullying, but mostly it is just ordinary opinions that are different to his.

I have not read any "hit pieces" on him, and I am not partisan in the election, but according to Scott Iit is so unlikely that multiple people can read his blog and come to a similar conclusion independantly that all unfavourable comment and observation on him must be part of a conspiracy. He is powerful enough (rather than entertaining) that he attracts the attention of the dark forces in the world.

He's become an intelligent characature of the classic conspiracy theorist I agree with him that this new character is much more entertaining than Dilbert. I hope he can find inspiration for it after the election.

+1 to Scott's post. 100% correct.

The persecution complex of Trump AND his supporters is fairly awesome.
Everyone's out to get them, because they are mean, not because there's anything objectively bad about Trump. They're just big bullies who are being mean to Trump and his fans. Nobody has any REAL reasons for hating Trump or what he represents - they're just prejudiced.

You have to admit, most Trump critiques are pretty shallow. You have many times presented a reasoned argument against his immigration policies, but that's unusual.

Arguably, (really arguably), a Trump loss would be less a repudiation of the Republican party than the Romney loss was. Romney was in many respects an ideal Republican candidate with real experience in public and private life, strongly aligned with party principles, running against a president who seemed to be doing a terrible job, and he lost handily. That should have shaken the party's foundations.

If Trump loses they could say, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't run an a-hole next time, but it looks like this immigration thing has legs."

I would like to think it wouldn't be a repudiation of the Republican Party in general. I would like to think it's a repudiation of the segment of the American public that holds the nationalist nativist beliefs that he represents. Of course they will claim that they represent the "Real" America, but their "real" America is not only narrow compared with the Democrat's multi-culturalism, it's narrow compared with the conventional mainstream conservatism of George Will. It's not even a religious conservatism, but an us-vs-them clutch-our-guns-and-flags circle-the-wagons conservatism. Pure nativism and in-group out-group division. To reject their vision of America isn't really to reject values that the Republican party has represented in the past such as fiscal conservatism, individualism, and liberty. (Again, they would probably see it as the triumph of their distorted vision of an America of Muslims and Mexicans and not-real-Americans. Not as the rejection of Trump's nativism and nationalism. )

However, the people who are voting against Trump may not carefully distinguish between the backwardsness they are rejecting and the other values represented by the Republican party. In-group loyalty is a thing as is motivated reasoning. Tyler might call it mood affiliation. People are going to want to defend things that the Democrats represent, because they voted for the Democrats. They are going to want to signal alliegance to the right side. Hence, the result may be that more people actually do start to adopt leftist beliefs simply because they are associated with the "side" they have chosen. I think this is precisely what has happened with millenials because of the Iraq War.

In other words, Trump's supports are actually helping to bring about the destruction of the "America" they are trying to protect by being so goddamn closed minded and nativist about it. They are alienating people and leading them to reject the entire swath of values that they are trying to preserve.

Speaking of manufactured in-group out-group divisions...

I don't know, I think the vindictiveness, the groping video, the interaction with the dead soldier's family, and the constant turning on other Republicans have done a lot to harm his campaign. He just doesn't seem like a nice, calm person.

As far as I can tell, the immigration thing is what has kept him afloat. It seems more powerful than trade, especially since he has basically the same trade stance as Clinton.

and the constant turning on other Republicans have done a lot to harm his campaign.

Whatever Mr. Trump's shortcomings are, the people he's turning on are fair-weather-friends, poseurs, and jellyfish. They really do not merit much consideration. The one person he's really savaged who hadn't been begging for it was Ted Cruz (who gets that treatment from the Capitol Hill / K Street establishment as well, just less vulgar treatment).

In other words, Trump’s supports are actually helping to bring about the destruction of the “America” they are trying to protect by being so goddamn closed minded and nativist about it. They are alienating people and leading them to reject the entire swath of values that they are trying to preserve.

Nativist is a rhetorical thrust. It has no defensible meaning.

Not everyone subscribes to your aspergerish indifference to culture and community. We're not close-minded. You are. I'd be delighted if you'd self-deport, Hazel.

Romney was in many respects an ideal Republican candidate with real experience in public and private life, strongly aligned with party principles,

Mr. Romney's a capable man, but he's like Richard Nixon or George Bush the Elder. Issues and programs are pretty much fungible to him.

it’s narrow compared with the conventional mainstream conservatism of George Will.

Will was always an eccentric (though a loyal Republican). He largely abandoned any kind of conservative perspective about 12 years ago. He's been a promoter of a libertarianism he once scorned.

Whatever Mr. Trump’s shortcomings are, the people he’s turning on are fair-weather-friends, poseurs, and jellyfish. They really do not merit much consideration.

Voters. Who needs them?

Kelly Ayotte and Paul Ryan are not 'voters'. They're careerist pols with their fingers to the wind.;

Trump is not only alienating public figures and political columnists. he's not only alienating Democrat SJWs who were going to vote against him anyway. he is alienating right-leaning voters who might otherwise have voted for the Republican candidate.

That includes myself, BTW.

"You have to admit, most Trump critiques are pretty shallow."

This was the right place to drop the Douthat link:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/opinion/campaign-stops/what-the-rights-intellectuals-did-wrong.html

The problem is not actually shallow analysis, it is the refusal of Trumpians to wear it.

anon, you are the personification of shallow critique. You should stop posting.

Ah, so sad. I give you a thoughtful piece chock full of analysis, particularly on conservative philosophy vs right wing populism ..

... and you give me an ad hominem.

I guess I can take it, and I'll do my part as you worth through the stages of grief.

Didn't you think this was good?

"Reflecting on this harsh reality has confirmed some conservatives in their belief that the managerial order is inherently left wing, and that the goal of a conservative politics should be to sweep the managerial class away entirely. This is part of the appeal of Trump to a small cohort within the right’s intelligentsia, who imagine that his strongman approach can unweave the administrative state and strip the overclass of all its powers."

Trump was certainly not conservatism with stronger boarders, it was a rebellion. And as with most rebellions the enemy class grows rapidly with the movement. It was "elites" and pretty soon everyone who disagreed was an "elite" and not part of the popular Republican movement.

The turn against "Wall Street" is a prime example. There was a bulwark of American capitalism, but now suddenly rejected because it was just too managerial and had no grease under its fingernails.

"… and you give me an ad hominem."

He didn't give you an ad hominem. He gave you a specific statement that was germane to the argument. If you don't understand the difference or even what ad hominem argument is then it is evidence that Lord Action has a point.

Defend that if you can. How was the Douthat article shallow, and how was my linking to it shallow in turn?

My irony meter is pegging here, because it looks like you want none of Douthat's thoughtfulness on the future of the conservative movement, and want to play "you are" ad hominem games instead.

Again, you don't seem to understand what an ad hominem argument is.

If Lord Action's says your posting style is shallow, he's not making an ad hominem argument. Regardless of whether the point is true.

So, you stubbornly refuse to discuss the link I gave, you refuse the deeper path, and complain that I am the shallow one.

Let me help you here .. the coming months will make or break the Republican party. If anyone wants to form a new right wing consensus, one with appeal broad enough to win elections, now is the time.

Now is the time to repent of calling anything right of center RINO, to repent of calling anything at center leftist or socialist depending on the day.

No skin off my nose, I'm winning. Caution and reason and expertise triumphed in the end. And anti-intellectualism crashed upon the rocks.

But I guess you can still name call, so you're good.

I should have remembered "when they go low, we go high" sooner.

"objectively bad "

What I believe is objective, what you believe is subjective.

Bad is an opinion, it is not "objective" because it is not a fact.

Hmm. Which are the Ten Commandments, objectively or subjectively for one particular God?

It's so mean how when you call for people to be persecuted based on their ethnic or religious background, a lot of people don't like that and will destroy yard signs. So mean. What a bunch of bullies.

Well, one of those is actual violence. See if you can tell which one.

It's especially funny because liddle Hazel is always the first to screech non aggression principle. But she does love to gore her some oxen if they aren't her oxen.

Of course, taking down someone's yard sign is wrong.
It's just a pretty minor aggression to (for example) barring someone from entering the country, or making it illegal for them to work. Which Trump supporters think is their moral right as "real Americans". To protect their culture from the foreign menace of Catholic Hispanics, of course.

That's the basic socialist argument. I'm obligated to give my stuff to other people because it pleases you.

I don't know why you characterize yourself as right-wing, because this is tyrannical.

How the hell does not making it illegal for someone to work constitute giving them you stuff?

I'm not going to rehash the whole discussion, but basically it's that our government is expensive and we shouldn't be giving it away for free. You pretend this is costless, when that couldn't be further from the truth.

When you're in a hole, stop digging.

Right so .... the fact that you impose some slight costs on me, makes it okay for me to deprive you of a livelihood.

It's not a slight cost. Government is the single biggest expense of your life. It's ahead of housing.

And: it's not your money to give away!

The impact of any individual immigrant on your tax dollars is miniscule, even the total imposed by all immigration is small as a percentage of the overall budget. Nevermind that they have no control over it. You impose the same costs on everyone just by existing and using roads. Do you think that driving on roads gives other Americans the right to control the terms of your employment, up to and including banning you from any employment?

Every socialist thinks their preferred expense is small in the face of a massive deficit. But in this case, it's clearly not true even if you accept the framing.

I have an existing obligation to citizens I cannot escape. I will be thrown in prison if I don't pay the IRS. I might like that obligation to be lower, but there's not much I can do about it.

You are saying that the obligation on me (to citizens) should be extended to the rest of the world. I am saying that is profoundly unjust. You have no right to impose that obligation on other people.

Hazel, do Americans, as a group, have the right to dictate border policy and who gets let in to the country?

Groups don't have rights. Individuals do.

Groups don’t have rights. Individuals do.

No, groups have rights. If they don't you end up conceptualizing people as properties.

Groups have obligations. I guess it makes it easier if they don't have rights, so you can impose whatever costs you want on them.

Hazel, I think we've reached a reduction to absurdity in your argument.

Is America allowed to control its border?

The implication of Hazel's argument is that it's outrageous to have immigration controls at all.

I've come to suspect a number of participants here are actually Mercatus staff, and that Mercatus staff are behind the sock-puppeting as well. "Hazel" is the nom-de-plume of Bryan Caplan.

Art, I don't think that's the implication, I think that's the premise.

The implication is that it's outrageous to have anything that you don't freely offer to whoever wants it.

It’s so mean how when you call for people to be persecuted based on their ethnic or religious background, a lot of people don’t like that and will destroy yard signs.

A lot of people don't like it when they're misrepresented and lied about by Canadian pests.

Yup. Everyone's out to get you. Just lies and misrepresentation. Trump never said anything about national Muslim registries, Mexicans being rapists. Never a racist word crossed his lips.

Also, only Democrats are morally obligated to be ruthlessly fair when quoting things said by Republicans. Republicans have free reign to distort anything said by Democrats, because they are a bunch of lying liberals who are trying to destroy America.

Yup. Everyone’s out to get you.

I neither stated nor implied that.

Just lies and misrepresentation.

You just did, Hazel. (In addition to mischaracterizing Trump).

Trump never said anything about national Muslim registries,

He said we should have an interim moratorium on Muslim migration given security problems.

Mexicans being rapists. Never a racist word crossed his lips.

Mexico has a homicide rate that bounces between 13 and 25 per 100,000. There are rapists in Mexico. There are rapists among illegal aliens in this country. Heather MacDonald has been tracking the impact of illegal aliens on public order for some years now. You might read her articles if you did want an education on the issues.

You just cannot help yourself, can you?

Poor you. People just refuse to intepret everything the exact same way as you. You are so obviously correct about everything and yet other people just won't see things the same way. So mean. Such lies.

http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/20/donald-trump-says-hed-absolutely-require-muslims-to-register/

Poor you. People just refuse to intepret everything the exact same way as you.

Word have meanings Hazel Humpty Dumpty. That's what makes them utile for communication.

So then misunderstandings are epistemologically impossible.

So then misunderstandings are epistemologically impossible.

No, but their much less likely when one party isn't putting some effort into it for effect.

>It’s so mean how when you call for people to be persecuted based on their ethnic or religious background, a lot of people don’t like that and will destroy yard signs. So mean. What a bunch of bullies.

"We need less immigrants with traits X,Y,Z"
"It's hard to isolate traits X,Y,Z"
"Traits X,Y,Z are strongly correlated with observable traits"
"The observable traits are ethnic or religious"
"We cannot select on ethnic or religious traits, because of reasons"
"But we need less X,Y,Z and more P,Q"
"But P,Q is correlated with ethnic and religious traits as well"
"These correlations must, of course, be spurious, because all ethnic/religious people are equal."
"Therefore we must ignore them."
"But they are the only clear signals to select on X,Y,Z,P,Q"
"But it can't be true, because it's spurious."

Repeat x10000. There, now you never have to read another immigration debate online again.

Your use of the word "persecuted" is a bit hyperbolic, but I'd like to point out that Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from entering the United States. The restriction of people based on nationality is well-established in American law.

Yeah, if they were permitted longer everyone could put up Trump signs to reduce their property taxes, perhaps the strongest argument for being pro-Trump. Still, she should have charged a grand to remove the sign.

Yes -- The neighbor is as concerned about property values as the seller. If it helps, think about N. Virginia where buyers are likely to be liberal.

The neighbor isn't concerned with property values. She's just caving in to the bitch next door because it doesn't get her back up when someone lobs stupid complaints about her husband.

I wonder if the second denouement is the husband returning home and putting up an even bigger Trump sign.

The second denoument will be a domestic argument. Because this is an elderly couple, the argument will be very brief and quite likely nearly wordless. She's been pulling these stunts for decades and he long ago gave up thinking anything he had to say would put an end to these jabs.

Caving and being an understanding neighbor are different things. Glad you said she was a bitch though. I'd assumed you'd call her the C word. If Trump had any chance of winning and the neighbor actually cared about touting her family's support of Trump she'd be well within her rights to keep the sign up. And I'm sure the seller would be annoyed but totally accept that.

An 'understanding neighbor' in this circumstance would understand that her neighbor's complaint was contrived and asinine.

I was wondering why, if this was so important to hide, that it shouldn't be a required disclosure.

If a buyer moved in and actually did take offense, would they have grounds to sue? It could be construed as the seller deliberately hiding information.

"would they have grounds to sue? It could be construed as the seller deliberately hiding information."

No, its not a property defect. If the political views of neighbors are relevant, how about hobbies and movie watching habits and sports team support.

No place [yet!] requires you to disclose everything about your neighbors that you know.

The politicization of once mundane interactions between people who are virtually indistinguishable to people observing from other cultures is a very sad - even pathetic - development of life in the modern world.

It's like that Star Trek episode in which two peoples with black and white on different sides of their faces hate each other to the point of war.

...or The Sneetches.

Buttered side up or die

Oops, mixed up my stories.

Homo sapients are an inherently tribal species. Drop a thousand identical tabula rosa clones fresh out of the vat onto a desert island. In two weeks they'll be divided into a dozen-plus arbitrary groups, all of whom are at each other's throats. Fifty years a lot of our group-antagonism was channeled into racial, ethnic and religious dimensions. Those were basically made verboten, but it's not like that impulse just disappears. Political orientation (and socio-economic class (and rural-urban cosmopolitanism)) seems like the natural replacement outlet. Assuming that the emerging trend of team sports dying plays out, expect things to only get worse.

In the past, some people worried aloud that non-white neighbors might lower their own property values, but we have since that time outlawed housing discrimination based on race. More recently, the definition of gay rights has changed from merely respecting their privacy to being supportive when they come out of the closet. Now, apparently, people worry that out-of-the-closet Trump supporters may lower their property values.

No. Black neighbors do lower property values. This is not an irrational opinion held by racists. It is an observable fact.

The Left is becoming ever more intolerant. This does not end well.

You're not responding to the the point. Do you think housing discrimination is ok, or is prohibiting it crazy left wing stuff?

Jan, in this example the housing discrimination is left wing, not right. Nice projection.

The 'Left' never was tolerant. Revolutionary France, Russia, China, South East Asia, Africa, the only time ideologists for socialism or communism scream about tolerance is when they are in the minority and seeking a majority.

"The ‘Left’ never was tolerant. Revolutionary France, Russia, China, South East Asia, Africa, the only time ideologists for socialism or communism scream about tolerance is when they are in the minority and seeking a majority."
This why "we" supported all those right-wing dictatorships in East Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East: tolerance! It is funny how the Right doesn't need to be associated to the far-right dictatorships (even when it directed and funded the whole show), but the Left, any Left, is guilty of Mao's crimes (apparently Carter is guilty of Mao's crimes, but not, say, Eisenhower and Nixon because reasons). Why not? Such approach, as much as "our" love affair with Saudi Arabia, is like money in the bank. Don't ask whose money is, though.

The idea that there's a legitimate objection to someone doing something on his own property that may or may not lower the value of that of a neighbor is pernicious. It flies in the face of what has been for centuries the rights of property owners. The silliness of the objection is obvious when one looks at the case of a property increasing in value because of adjacent developments. The affected property owner feels no obligation to deliver a portion of his increased sale price to the creator of the positive externality and never does so, even while advertising that externality. If the creator attempted to acquire a portion of the sale price based on the perceived increase in value generated by his positive externality, he'd be laughed out of court. But the reverse is absolutely accepted.

"The silliness of the objection is obvious when one looks at the case of a property increasing in value because of adjacent developments. The affected property owner feels no obligation to deliver a portion of his increased sale price to the creator of the positive externality and never does so, even while advertising that externality."

And I say, Henry George for ever!

You’re not responding to the the point. Do you think housing discrimination is ok, or is prohibiting it crazy left wing stuff?

"Prohibiting it" (or requiring it through restrictive covenants) both violate freedom of contract, ergo are bad policy.

This why “we” supported all those right-wing dictatorships in East Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East: tolerance! I

You cannot contrive a coherent definition of 'support' that doesn't make you look like an idiot.

"The silliness of the objection is obvious when one looks at the case of a property increasing in value because of adjacent developments. The affected property owner feels no obligation to deliver a portion of his increased sale price to the creator of the positive externality and never does so, even while advertising that externality."

Indeed, people are happier with win-win arrangements and outcomes than win-lose ones. I don't see how that renders anything silly though.

"You cannot contrive a coherent definition of ‘support’ that doesn’t make you look like an idiot."
It is a shame neither the Saudis nor the Juntas nor the Mujahideen ever cared about "definitions". They care about dollars.

It is a shame neither the Saudis nor the Juntas nor the Mujahideen ever cared about “definitions”. They care about dollars.

The Saudi monarchy is the issue of rough-and-tumble tribal politics on the Arabian peninsula. The House of Saud has been pre-eminent in the Nejd for over 200 years and conquered the Hijaz 90 years ago. It's not an artifact of American policy. To the extent they ever needed a foreign patron, it was Britain, and that situation came to an end more than 70 years ago. Official development assistance is not a significant factor anywhere outside of Tropical Africa, bar a few countries facing natural disasters or political breakdown and a scatter of others with special circumstances.

You never had 'juntas' anywhere because you had American aid programs. Rule by soldier-caudillos was common in Latin America before there was any such thing as overseas development aid, or state-organized relief programs, or security assistance programs. The sort of gentry factional politics which was bog standard in Latin America throughout the 19th century had disappeared by 1955 or thereabouts. You had soldier-caudillos for about a generation longer, but you can hardly find an example of such a regime erected de novo after about 1970, because militaries in Latin America had taken on a corporate personality. Since that feature of military culture in Latin America can be observed as early as 1930, it's not attributable to American aid programs either (though technical assistance programs which built links between American and Latin American militaries may have promoted the process). The point is largely moot, though, because Latin American militaries largely gave up an interest in direct rule 35 years ago.

As for Tropical Africa, its really quite bizarre that you'd attribute their political dysfunctions to the United States government. The political life in these places is markedly improved from what it was like prior to 1990, but you still have in each locus an elite who do nothing particularly well, and huge swaths of Equatorial Africa and the Horn of Africa are just a wreck. While we're at it, the modal foreign patron in Africa is France, not the United States.

You've just had a fine example the last five years of how sustainable electoral institutions are in the Arab world and points adjacent. Their problem is incorporated into their social anthropology; it's not found at the U.S. Embassy.

As for Tropical Africa, its really quite bizarre that you’d attribute their political dysfunctions to the United States government. The political life in these places is markedly improved from what it was like prior to 1990, but you still have in each locus an elite who do nothing particularly well, and huge swaths of Equatorial Africa and the Horn of Africa are just a wreck. While we’re at it, the modal foreign patron in Africa is France, not the United States."

I did not attribute their political dysfunctions, past or present, neither to the USA regime nor to the Soviet Union nor to France, but the fact remains, "we" cared (care) so much about freeedom in Cuba or Iran and cared so little about freedom in Saudi Arabia, United Fruits Land or Zaire and Afghanistan after the Commumists were gone. As for things getting better since 1990, some of "our" guys lost their jobs, some of them lost their heads, too. It surely was for the better.
"Since that feature of military culture in Latin America can be observed as early as 1930, it’s not attributable to American aid programs either (though technical assistance programs which built links between American and Latin American militaries may have promoted the process)."
I see, "we" wasted "our" money sending experts to teach them how make full use of shock torture. Oh, it may "promoted" the process. Yes, it "may".
"The House of Saud has been pre-eminent in the Nejd for over 200 years and conquered the Hijaz 90 years ago. It’s not an artifact of American policy."
You know, we should get back to the the drug business in Latin America. I mean, it is not an artifact of American policy. There are already drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico. Why shouldn't our government make a quick buck on it?

The notion that Latin American militaries need training in order to know how to torture people is a fantasy of Constantine Costa-Gravas.

I did not attribute their political dysfunctions, past or present, neither to the USA regime nor to the Soviet Union nor to France, but the fact remains, “we” cared (care) so much about freeedom in Cuba or Iran and cared so little about freedom in Saudi Arabia, United Fruits Land or Zaire and Afghanistan after the Commumists were gone.

Strange as it may seem to you, there are multiple determinants to the composition of foreign policy and the problems you face in a given locale are often idiosyncratic. "Freedom" has never been an issue in the Congo because order has never been securely established there. Neither has order been securely established in Afghanistan at any time since 1978. As for Saudi Arabia, what do you think happens when the House of Saud's rule is dismantled? If you fancy there will be an improvement in internal conditions, you take bad bets.

There is no such place as 'United Fruit Lands'. United Fruit owned plantations in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Honduras is a very poor country with (as we speak) terrible problems with street crime. However, during the years United Fruit was invested in the country (1899-1970), it was if anything less prone to despotism than was typical for Latin American countries in that era. Costa Rica has been a constitutional state since 1882, almost without interruption, United Fruit or not United Fruit. Guatemala had no experience with electoral institutions prior to 1944. United Fruit did not generate that situation. That was the default in Guatemala. The country suffered severe political violence after 1978, but United Fruit had sold it's interests in Central America by that time and taken to emphasizing it's marketing and distribution business.

Sheesh. Read something other than back issues of The Nation. Those people are lying to you.

"The notion that Latin American militaries need training in order to know how to torture people is a fantasy of Constantine Costa-Gravas."

Of course, Latin American recruits are born knowing modern torture techniques, it is just one of the many ways brown people is different from "us". "We" just sent "our" boys anyway because it was a creative way to waste tax monies. By the way, it is the same thing with military aid to unsabory regimes. They could just point their fingers at their people and yell "bang", but we spent/spend money anyway.

"Strange as it may seem to you, there are multiple determinants to the composition of foreign policy and the problems you face in a given locale are often idiosyncratic. “Freedom” has never been an issue in the Congo because order has never been securely established there. Neither has order been securely established in Afghanistan at any time since 1978."

There are many determinants to Third World communist/nationalist insurgencies/terrorist groups/dictatorships, too. I mean content masses don't rebel and satisfied cabals don't conspire. Moscow clearly had nothing to do with anything that happened anywhere in the world. No sir. Evidently there are many determinants to drug markets (consumers, available resources, available manpower, know-how, etc.). Evidently, Pablo Escobar was every bit a saint as, say, Ronald Reagan.

I see, order had not been established in Afghanistan before 1978 -- good, we and the Ruskies could meddle there with such good consciences, lucky Afghans. It caused some problems -- for us, I mean, it is all that counts-- down the line, though. It is funny. I recall we were helping saving Zaire from the "Soviet puppets" because we cared about its people's freedom. Thanks for setting me right: "freedom was not a issue". Neither was "order" since the Soviets were eager to help establish as much "order" as the Congo people --or any people, really-- would ever need or want.

"As for Saudi Arabia, what do you think happens when the House of Saud’s rule is dismantled? If you fancy there will be an improvement in internal conditions, you take bad bets."
It is good to know there is a place in the Middle East where we dare not take bad bets (I guess the "good bet" is to keep supporting your terrorist friends until the end time-- how convenient for them). The Iraqis were not that lucky. Apparently the only reason "we", who supported the juntas and the Afghan terrorists, oppose the Castro and their Venezuelan copycats is because they still didn't succeed in making their countries completly inviable once they depart the scene (at lest, I still can imagine a free Cuba or a free Venezuela). As soon as they succed in doing that, I take it, "we" will shower those dictators with the same love and understanding "we" shower "our" Saudi friends with.
"Guatemala had no experience with electoral institutions prior to 1944. United Fruit did not generate that situation. That was the default in Guatemala. The country suffered severe political violence after 1978, but United Fruit had sold it’s interests in Central America by that time and taken to emphasizing it’s marketing and distribution business."
Again, Rio de Janeiro has little recent experience in not being a drug market zone. I say our government get back to the drug markets and make some money to pay for the deficit. I mean, it is not our fault, the place was already a mess before we came in. If we do not sell drugs for the children, someone else will-- in fact, is.

You've descended into hopeless incoherence. I'm really not paid to be your therapist.

Paul Harvey cliffhanger? Tune in tomorrow to catch hubby's reaction?

Anyway, I noticed this from the seller: "I told her we are moving and putting the house on the market, and that because of the divisive nature of this campaign, we worry that political signs in general might scare some buyers."

So, no Hilly signs either?

They might be silly, but they aren't that stupid.

My neighborhood is pretty damn liberal and we don't even have but a couple Clinton signs. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren'y any.

I live in a battleground congressional district. Zero Trump signs. I saw one guy with a red MAGA hat this summer. One.

Clinton signs are ok.

I live in a battleground state in the south, and Trump signs are pervasive. No Clinton signs that I've seen.

I also live in a battleground Congressional district (executive and professional, highly educated, almost entirely white and Asian). The Republican Congressional candidate is likely to win in a squeaker, but Hillary is way, way ahead in the big race.

My point being, Jan, that the home seller was likely flat-out bullshitting her aged neighbor.

She couldn't come out and say the truth. Straussian?

Likewise. I live in a 95% Dem ward. Not many HRC signs. (No Trump signs either.)

I live on the Upper West Side of New York City (which I pretty much guarantee is more liberal than Jan's neighborhood), and I have seen exactly one Clinton bumper sticker. And I have been looking. I did see one (faded) Obama sticker, so he is tied with Clinton. There aren't any yards, so there aren't any yard signs.

The only neighborhood I've seen more than a few Hillary signs was the 2 blocks immediately surrounding the governor's mansion in Little Rock. I imagine the residents are mostly close friends of the Clintons.

I live in a high school district that contained two of the top donating to Republican zip codes 10 years ago. Zero Trump signs. Not uncommon to see Hillary signs. A few Johnson.

Large swaths of the female population have little or no loyalty to their men folk. Others are pathologically conflict-averse (which, I suppose, is to be preferred to the drama manufactories). The smart money says the puerile man complaining about his neighbor's lawn signs had as his interlocutor one such specimen and her husband has spent several decades putting up with the irritation she generates.

Oh, poor little thing... The only reason "men folk" is not the most ridiculous word in the English language is because it is not a word.

You need to sober up before you comment again.

I see, "do as I say, not as I do."

Well, given that you and he wrote "men folk", it obviously isn't a word. It's two, both of which are certainly words

obviously IS a word. oops

The old bag! Betcha got one yerself at home, so you really know this landscape.

Cut Art Deco some slack. He hasn't had sex since the Bicentennial. Consequently, he's more than a bit, how shall we say, backed up.

When Bridge players sitting across a table can bid No Trumps and Trumps respectively , may be its time to build bridges and not fences. A sign of the times.

What a stupid country we live in. Why would you steal somebody's sign? Get a life.

From my neck of the woods, stealing a political sign can get you in big trouble if somebody videos it with their iphone and posts it on Youtube:

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/st-john/st-john-town-manager-charged-with-sign-theft/article_23a12af8-fb76-5f5a-81f8-121ba5e1eeb7.html

http://nwigazette.com/2015/11/st-john-town-manager-caught-on-video-removing-signs/

Ah, NW Indiana. Looks similar to rural Michigan out there. Except while Michigan has (or at least had) Ted Nugent roaming around protecting freedom, you have the threat of Brian Kelly going purple-faced ballistic on some mother effers.

You go, Jan!

Or you write our your insanity defense in the Washington Post as this lady did after premeditated theft of Trump signs.

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2016/10/can-you-believe-someone-would-put-that.html

> She was, however, married to a big Trump fan who was not home at the time. It is unclear how her husband felt about her decision to remove the sign.

Principal-agent problem.

More likely a problem with the partnership agreement.

Partnership is, legally, a relationship of mutual agency.

I think the problem is rich people without a direct relationship to politics don't put political signs at home. It signals low status and poor aesthetic taste. Putting an election sign at home is similar to filling the rear bumper of a car with stickers. You want to support your candidate and you have the liberty to do it, but does it look good? Not even Trump wears regularly the Make America Great Again red hat, because it looks ridiculous. I think there's no nice way to put it but stickers, signs and red hats are door the poor, the rich have other ways to support a candidate without committing an aesthetic crime.

You're talking out of your ass. Lawn signs are integral to local politics, and the gentry characters where I've lived distribute them all over town when they're running for office or when one of their committee members is running for office. I've had them on my lawn. The candidate in question (running for a seat on the municipal council) was a lapsed investment banker retired into real estate.

Agreed, but my experience of Greenwich, Westport etc. is that there are more signs supporting local candidates than national ones. I think name recognition is a problem for local candidates, which lawn signs address. Someone could segue from this to a discussion of economic theories of advertising generally, but I have to get back to work.

Art, you said local politics and supporting a guy you know. Is Trump participating in the County Court election?

Also, there's a well documented conflict in private communities between people that like to support candidates with political signs and people that wants to live in a nice and tidy environment. Of course, this is a private community issue but it shows some people consider political signs a sore to the eyes. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/a-delicate-balance-political-yard-signs-and-hoa-rules-during-campaign-season-133006188.html

Also, there’s a well documented conflict in private communities between people that like to support candidates with political signs and people that wants to live in a nice and tidy environment

No there isn't. There's a conflict between people who put up a lawn sign for a few weeks in the fall and some of the world's officious nuisances. The same sort of officious nuisance calls the cops on her neighbors when they let their kids walk to the park unaccompanied.

"Not even Trump wears regularly the Make America Great Again red hat"
More than his hair, you mean?

Tyler left out this line from the house seller: "Baking brownies for them now."

So, it was Coasean.

I miss the days when not everything on this blog had to be Coasean (Coasian). There are phases of course. A number of months ago every post was Straussian this, Straussian that.

Geez, it's not like the guy is shoehorning. Some situations evoke Coase, others Strauss, yet others, other people.

If you can't see echoes of Coase here, that's your problem.

No, seeing echoes of Coase here is reductionist.

"The theorem states that if trade in an externality is possible and there are sufficiently low transaction costs, bargaining will lead to a Pareto efficient outcome regardless of the initial allocation of property."

I spent the past several days in Trump country attending the funeral of a family member. At the deceased's home after the funeral, a middle age woman took out her iphone and began showing those around her photos taken at a
recent Trump rally. Most of the photos were of young children, including those of the woman, many wearing Trump caps and shirts. So many smiling faces and so much excitement among the children, one might think Santa Klaus was on his way. And I suppose he was. That Trump is a celebrity is obvious, but what may not be obvious is that celebrity is the foundation of his campaign for president. Just as we expect celebrities to have flaws, so too we expect Trump to have flaws; indeed, the flaws add to the mystique. It was often said that President Kennedy's popularity was attributable to his "charisma". He certainly was handsome. That he was rich, married to a beautiful woman, and spoke with an elegant accent helped. When I was in college, political scientists were almost obsessed with the power of "charisma", which they applied liberally to identify not only appealing personalities such as Kennedy but far less appealing personalities such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Does Trump have "charisma"? Or does Trump have "celebrity"? His appeal to those children in the photos might suggest that he has celebrity. Something that I find interesting about Trump is his speaking style. While his speeches are full of bombast and bluster, his physical mannerisms are effeminate: he uses his thumbs and index fingers to create circles, alternating between the circles and pointing his index fingers to the sides at nothing in particular. Of course, what I am describing is the Mars symbol, or the symbol for a man. Definitely not feminine, but done by Trump in a very effeminate manner. Charisma?

They're just jealous of having been unable to participate in the Obama cult and decided to create their own. Can't let the damn liberals have all the fun.

Probably a good clue for cultishness is when something is strongly believed by a minority, but rejected by the majority. So ... aspiring to cult status is a poor way to win an election.

he was rich... spoke with an elegant accent

Now you're just trolling.

No, this is typically the rationalization of a normal, social interaction.

Yes- Coasian.

Coasian. Just b/c the clearing "price" was zero dollars doesn't mean there wasn't a cost. The important aspect was the bargaining process.

More people should just be taking this as a funny story, revealing a bit about the respective natures of old ladies and old men.

Its women like this that makes me look kindly to a Trump victory, no matter how bad he is.

If a neighbor had went around her to her husband, she would be indignant. Its ok for her to do it though..

Presumably she expects her husband to side with her contra irritating neighbors, and expects the wife next door to side with the importuning neighbors. Which of course is what happened.

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