Noted for June 21, 2013
Liveblogging World War II: June 21, 1943

L'Esprit de l'Escalier: June 21, 2013

L'Esprit de l'Escalier: June 21, 2013

  • John Harwood: "Mr. Obama has not given North Dakota his time. It is one of six states he has not visited…. Mr. Obama has time to elevate the unifying themes that propelled his initial emergence. Mr. Clinton, who valued presidential travel as a symbol of outreach, did not touch every state until he visited Nebraska six weeks before leaving office." How many states did George W. Bush visit in his first term (he visited 49, all except Vermont in two terms)? Bill Clinton (he visited all 50 in two terms)? George H.W. Bush, I know, visited 49--all except Vermont. How many did Ronald Reagan visit in his first term (I know he visited 46 in both terms)? Jimmy Carter?
  • 20 years ago it looked like the Clinton administration's attempt to get the deficit down from unsustainable to sustainable levels was going to be at best a 50-50 proposition, and 20 years ago it looked like Republican hatred of Clinton and the power of the doctor and the insurance lobbies were going to keep us from ever getting any traction on health-care cost containment. Thus 20 years ago the real interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds was 5%/year. Today it is 1%/year. We are orders of magnitude further from becoming "Argentina" than we were 20 years ago...

  • .@JeffYoung @CitizenCohn GOP sez: "ObamaCare pplr with moochers, unpplr with makers". John Galt fears adverse selection NOT!! #talklikeyoda

  • I gotta protest. David Graeber claims that Ben Bernanke is the only government appointee at the Federal Reserve, and that the rest are private bankers. That is not "controversial". That is not "minor". It's simply wrong. David Graeber claims that the United States is exploiting China by somehow--apparently he thinks it is through threats of military action--forcing China to lend to the U.S. at an interest rate that is unfairly low. His solution? A general forgiveness of debts--including the debt of the U.S. to China. That you don't help China's problem with the low interest rate on its Treasuries by forcing it to cancel all U.S. debt to it is not "controversial". It is not "minor". It is so wrong and incoherent it makes my head hurt. And Noah Smith is not a debt peon "force[d]... into situations of dependency... still paying student loans, with interests that he does not control". Assistant Professors of Finance at Stonybrook are not debt peons. That, too, is so wrong it make my head hurt. These--and many other howlers--ought to be acknowledged and corrected.

  • But in my view at least, the most interesting thing is that the argument that "Keynes was a perv and his theories are pervy" has been a big, reliable hit with right-wing audiences since Joseph Schumpeter began using it 67 years ago and is suddenly beyond the pale. You can see this in the puzzlement of National Review writers like Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnuru, who have been wandering around saying: "But this is just what people always say at our conferences! What's the problem?"

  • "Grigua's Prayer" is Skidelsky quoting Smuts, on p. 373 of his "John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed, 1883-1920". It is a letter Smuts wrote to his friend Margaret Gillett nee Clark 1878-1962 on May 7, 1919. It is quoted earlier in Gordon Craig's "Europe since 1914". The Smuts correspondence appears to be at Cambridge:, and I will ask the Berkeley librarians if they can access it online in any way. The letter was published in volume 4 of the Smuts Papers, which Google Books has at , but it has no preview of page 152. Margaret Clark Gillett's husband Arthur Clark was one of the founders of OxFam, IIRC a professor at Oxford--I think a botanist--and IIRC a Director of Barclays. Bill Schwartz's "The White Man's World" contains a chapter on Jan Christian Smuts, "Frontier Philosopher", well worth reading.

  • As to Grigua… I believe it is a reference to : "The high proportion of single Dutch men led to their taking indigenous women as wives and companions, and mixed-race children were born. They grew to be a sizeable population who spoke Dutch and were instrumental in developing the colony. These children did not attain the social or legal status accorded their fathers, mostly because colonial laws recognised only Christian forms of marriage. This group became known as Basters, or bastards. The colonists, in their paramilitary response to insurgent resistance from Khoi and San people, readily conscripted the Basters into commandos. This ensured the men became skilled in lightly armed, mounted, skirmish tactics… created belligerent, skilled groups of opportunists who harassed the indigenous populations the length of the Orange River. Once free of the colonies, these groups called themselves the Oorlam…. One of the most influential of these Oolam groups was the Griqua. In the 19th century, the Griqua controlled several political entities which were governed by Kapteins (Dutch for 'Captain', i.e. leader) and their Councils, with their own written constitutions. Adam Kok I, the first Kaptein of the Griqua – a slave who had bought his own freedom – led his people north…. Kok's successor, Andries Waterboer, founded Griqualand West…. Not long after 1843, the competition between the Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and the Transvaal became too much for the Griqua. Led by Adam Kok III, they migrated east to establish Griqualand East. Griqualand East only existed for months before its annexation by the Cape Colony in 1874…. The Griqua were classified as Coloured under apartheid." But I am not certain it is their prayer. Lord Skidelsky probably knows off the top of his head…