Thursday assorted links


#2 was good. Sunstein drives people berserk, but I liked Nudge, and I liked the link. Tyler or Alex, do you have 5 intelligent lefty books to recommend?

Sunstein is setting expectations for liberals unprepared for a secret centrist.

(Not really so secret, one of those things hiding in plain sight.)

... on the bench?

Perhaps. If I understand correctly unconfirmed justice Garland is pretty centrist, but is just considered too extreme by some. That could be the pattern.

"centrist" in contemporary jurisprudence, refers to Anthony Kennedy, who should be unacceptable to anyone who adheres to principles of deliberative self-government. The problem is that the appellate judiciary and law professoriate are awful by default, and unfit to hold positions of public trust.

How dumb are liberals anyway? Don't they see Wall Street and the Pentagon licking their chops?

The really odd thing about this moment in history is that the idea we should have a conventional Wall Street and the Pentagon is a "liberal" idea. It's not burnin' it all down, dontcha see.

People pull their hair on Twitter that Hillary and Wall Street talk. Can I get a WTF? When in the last 200 years have a President and Wall Street not talked?

When in the last 200 years has it been a good idea that Wall Street and the Pentagon fail?

I'm not so worried about Wall Street myself- Vanguard is eating most of the low hanging fruit there regardless. I am a bit suspicious of any candidate who sucks in money from Wall street the way Clinton does, though. In 2016, however, the whole idea of money contaminating politicians has, of course, fallen off the radar for some reason, (but a passing mention of the Koch brothers can still rouse the faithful into a nice lather.) Classic.

As far as the Pentagon, at $800 billion a year, I'm not too worried about the failure mode you hint at. Most Republicans are no better, of course, but...

My whole point was the ridiculousness of describing Hillary as a "secret" centrist. Are you even aware of the brocialist hipsters that almost put her doddering sparring partner on the ticket instead?

I think you recognize that nuance is necessary and that the recent "Wall Street bad, Moscow good" has been a terrible and dangerous political reflex. An unthinking crowd reaction. Mob even.

And it does take some nuance. Most of us here have a retirement riding on Wall Street, so it is kind of hard to say that what Wall Street wants is bad, especially for us.

I don't suppose you'll write in Sanders or Warren to fix it and/or risk your investments?

Has the doddering sparring partner behaved in ways which suggest advanced Parkinson's?

You have a child's understanding of Wall Street. Warren Buffett, for example, has had almost nothing to do with Wall Street ever. Vanguard is the anti-Wall Street.

If your retirement is 'riding on Wall Street', I suggest you fire your broker and go passive.

You don't think passive investments are Wall Street? Explain why not. Use "price discovery" and "capital allocation" as necessary.

Ha! I just remembered that one seminal work leading to passive investment was called "A Random Walk Down Wall Street."

Wall Street is no more responsible for stock market returns than a Wal-Mart clerk is responsible for the price of groceries.

Except to the extent that they divert those returns into their own pockets.

Think about it a little Brian. Wall Street was the name given to share-trading. Under a tree, IIRC. You champion (as do I) index trading of shares. I'm not sure though how we'd have shares to index trade without a Wall Street to float IPOs, nor a market to price those shares for indexes.

You are quaint, anon. Hedge funds have given Hillary $123 million. Pretty sure this has nothing to do with the price of publicly-traded securities on timeframes greater than a millisecond.

It is a hilarious role reversal, but will it last?

Will the Republican nominee for President in 2020 be down with or down on Wall Street?

"Don’t they see Wall Street and the Pentagon licking their chops?"

And Health Insurance companies of course. Hillary Clinton will be pushing to give them billions from the Treasury.

On defense, traditionally Republicans have talked like hawks and spent like doves and Democrats vice versa. We had a reversal with Bush, but arguably that was forced on him.

It looks like we're back to normal in this election.

Wall Street was going to see a big improvement either way. With one outcome, they just get more control of the specifics.

Which Republicans spent like doves? Reagan and his 600 ship navy?

Of course that highlights how silly it is to look at party and not environment. Reagan, facing the last gasps of Soviet power had to spend more.

Geez that brings us to that other role-reversal. Will Republicans in 2020 be reborn cold warriors or will they be fine with Putin in their back pocket?

"Which Republicans spent like doves?"

Famously, H W Bush.

By the chart midway down the page below, GHWB was trending down on the peace dividend but did not reach the defense lows of Clinton

On defense, traditionally Republicans have talked like hawks and spent like doves and Democrats vice versa.

The ratio of military spending to domestic product declined almost without interruption from 1953 to 1978 (excluding on a couple of years during the VietNam War), then increased for about 7 years, then declined for the next 15 years, then increased for 7 years or so. Don't think these sine-waves have much to do with party politics.


I don't have a say about the rest but “Seeing Like A State" is a terrific book.

#2: I doubt any of these are bad selections. He seems to have limited himself to the last 10 years. It's properly billed starboard thought generally. Mulligan's more of a libertarian and three of the five selections have a libertarian cast. Haidt's not in the business of promoting starboard thought, but of understanding it. Scalia was an advocate for conscientious interpretation of positive law, which does not have a substantive program per se. Sunstein it appears pays no notice to church and country conservatives (so Robert George is absent) nor to polemical critiques of portside thought (so Thomas Sowell is absent).

2. Sunstein has picked five books that are least likely to change a liberal's mind about conservatives. Maybe that was his intent. [I recommend Haidt's book but the cartoonish way he depicts liberals will turn many liberals off.]

but the cartoonish way he depicts liberals will turn many liberals off.]

No, he depicts them respectfully, just not in accordance with their amour propre. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is dead and liberals are cartooonish as a matter of course.

2. The Internal Revenue Code.

More seriously, I'd swap out Casey Mulligan. I think even if you could flip a switch in every liberal's head to make them 100% confident that the ACA reduces GDP by 2%, you wouldn't get much movement on support vs. repeal. Replace it with something like Easterly's Elusive Quest for Growth (though it might cover too much of the same ground as Seeing Like A State), something that echoes Jared Diamond's argument that Europe industrialized and China didn't because of competition between smaller states, or maybe even the Federalist Papers.

What the list is really missing is a reasoned (i.e. non Leviticus) case against sexual freedom, but I don't know of any such book. The bestsellers certainly seem to run in the "humans should be more like bonobos" line.

The case against 'sexual freedom' is made by examining demographic statistics. That aside, you could look at the work of Robert George. I believe Roger Scruton has written on the issue. And, of course, there is the body of Catholic thought on the question (in which vein Robert George writes).

4. It wasn't the rebuilding that they did wrong in Beirut, but that they ended the war by making rent seeking in government more profitable for the warlords.

#5. " It would be a negotiating screw-up of cosmic proportions for us not to get it. [It being third country equivalence]"

Exactly, and the EU and UK are not going to negotiate for two solid years an end up with a negotiating screw-up of cosmic proportions.

"2. Cass Sunstein picks five books to represent conservative thought."

"If you think that Barack Obama has been a terrific president (as I do)"

What is it with Partisan hype? Obama hasn't been a horrible president, as many on the Right portray, but clearly he hasn't been a "terrific president". I don't think you could find a majority anywhere that thinks Obama was the best President out of the last 5.

Here's a fairly typical survey of 'expert' opinion on the subject, by a group that's pretty favorable to Democratic Presidents in general.

They ranked Obama as 18th. Behind Clinton, Reagan and HW Bush.

Yep, that's about where I'd rank Obama. Upper middle, B- or so. Really hoping Clinton can at least not be bottom third level. She's a one-termer for sure, and will have a Rep Congress, so not much damage she can do.

But the hype from Sunstein isn't hard to understand, he's a liberal who worked in Obama's administration.

"But the hype from Sunstein isn’t hard to understand, he’s a liberal who worked in Obama’s administration."

Yes, that's a valid point. And, to be fair, compared to someone like Paul Krugman, Sunstein's comments are reasonable.

I think you're reading too much here. He's just glibly saying "hey, I'm really liberal" as the setup for his point about taking in opposing views.

What is it with Partisan hype?

Status maintenance in and among his social circle.

I think a lot of it has to do with the hand he was dealt. Compare Obama to the next 5 presidents rather than the previous 5 and folks will marvel at both the things he got done and the shit he manged not to step in.

So, your belief is that President H R Clinton will get less done and step in more shit that Obama? Ok, fair enough.

I think that's a fair bet, I don't think she'll be as good a president at Obama. Plus she'll likely have a recession hit on her watch.

Furthermore Obamacare is already into a death spiral. There's no way to save it without Congress approving large amounts of money. So, she'll be the person in charge when it goes down.

This is utterly unjudgable for several decades.

#2. I thought this was interesting because, with the exception of Scalia and Mulligan, Sunstein is not directing liberals to overtly conservative books. Even Scalia's jurisprudential writings are not intended to be "policy conservative." The secret history of "A Matter of Interpretation" is that by the end Scalia and Dworkin agree on everything.

Mulligan's libertarian.

There's nothing odd about Sunstein's selections. 'Diversity' on arts and sciences faculties means you have a couple of libertarian capons in the economics department, because, well, that's the intellecutally serious opposition (and they're all for open borders). Don't imagine law faculties are too different: 30-odd faculty, 4 Republicans (of whom 3 are 'appalled' by Sarah Palin).

How could Mulligan change any rational mind when, as Sunstein notes, what he (Mulligan) says is unsupported by evidence.
"He projects that by creating a disincentive for full-time employment, health care reform will produce “about 3 percent less employment, 3 percent fewer aggregate work hours, 2 percent less GDP, and 2 percent less labor income.
As he acknowledges, Mulligan’s particular numbers are highly speculative (and in my view, they are unsupported by current evidence."
This is beyond silly.

#3 was the only thing that mattered. The only thing.

#2 is all about policy and theory (maybe Haidt excepted) - it doesn't address much about culture and identity, which seems to be driving this election. Is there a book called "why we are us, and why they are them"?

#3 Again, I don't think topology is the right word

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