It's Broccoli Day! Our Annual Day on Which We Give Thanks to Justice Ginsburg, the Dissent-That-Became-an-Opinion, and the Affordable Care Act
Liveblogging World War II: June 29, 1943

Noted for June 29, 2013

  • Elizabeth Anderson uses a Friedrich von Hayek to dismember a Greg Mankiw argument (2005): "I deserve my pretax income": Today's post is a tribute to F. A. Hayek.  I was going to commend Hayek earlier, for nailing the economic case against comprehensive planning…. I've been clearing the ground by explaining why certain sorts of arguments… don't work…. In this post, I'll explain why the claim 'I deserve my property' doesn't do so…. In two of his important works of political economy, The Constitution of Liberty (see esp. ch. 6), and Law, Legislation, and Liberty (vol. 2), Hayek explained why free market prices cannot, and should not, track claims of individual moral desert…. The basic function of free market prices is informational… signals to producers as to where their products are most in demand (and to consumers as to the opportunity costs of their options).  They reflect the sum total of the inherently dispersed information…. It's a short step from this core insight about prices to their failure to track any coherent notion of moral desert. Claims of desert are essentially backward-looking. They aim to reward people for virtuous conduct…. Free market prices are essentially forward-looking…. This is one of capitalism's great virtues…. Consequently, capitalism is constantly pulling the rug out from underneath even the most thoughtful, foresightful, and prudent production plans of individual agents. However virtuous they were, by whatever standard of virtue one can name, individuals cannot count on their virtue being rewarded in the free market…. Sheer dumb luck is also, ineradicably, a prominent factor determining free market returns.  And nobody deserves what comes to them by sheer luck."

  • John Holbo: Unintended Consequences of Shelby?: "I’m not a big believer in ‘heighten the contradictions’. Too Lenin-meets-slatepitch. But I wonder to what extent the Shelby decision will prove disadvantageous for Republicans because the party will now pursue measures that are inconsistent with making any credible attempt to not be a regional, ethnocentric party…. Maybe it will backfire, as voter discouragement measures seem to have backfired in 2012. Or maybe it will work, at least in the near term. Minorities will vote in smaller numbers. That will help Republicans. But it seems like doom for Republican moderates, hence death for tender green shoots of Republican moderation (were one to believe such a delicate blossom could ever compete with that hardiest of conservative perennials – the extremist spasm.) No Republican is allowed to call a fellow Republican a racist, obviously… no moderate Republican will be able to talk, critically, about what their fellow Republicans are going to be up to, thanks to Shelby…. The overall optics are going to be terrible… the talk is going to get ugly. But no one on the right is allowed to notice it getting ugly…. Lewis is a Rubio fan, and I can see him worrying: in 12 years, is it going to be possible to have a figure like Rubio…. Rubio-types will look to white Republicans like a liability waiting to happen. When is he finally going to call us racists, which will have the Times all over us in a New York minute, costing us more than all the good he ever did for us, in terms of minority outreach…. It’s too clever by half to argue that vote suppression measures will surely backfire, having the opposite of the intended effect. So let’s just ask: to what extent will Shelby discourage the Republican Party from mending its ways (by liberal lights, of course)?"

  • Karl Marx: Capital Vol. I - Chapter Six: "This sphere that we are deserting, within whose boundaries the sale and purchase of labour-power goes on, is in fact a very Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham. Freedom, because both buyer and seller… contract as free agents…. Equality, because each enters into relation with the other as with a simple owner of commodities, and they exchange equivalent for equivalent. Property, because each disposes only of what is his own. And Bentham, because each looks only to himself… the gain and the private interests of each… they all, in accordance with the pre-established harmony of things, or under the auspices of an all-shrewd Providence, work together to their mutual advantage, for the common weal and in the interest of all. On leaving this sphere of simple circulation or of exchange of commodities, which furnishes the 'Free-Trader Vulgaris' with his views and ideas, and with the standard by which he judges a society based on capital and wages, we think we can perceive a change in the physiognomy of our dramatis personae. He, who before was the money-owner, now strides in front as capitalist; the possessor of labour-power follows as his labourer. The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent on business; the other, timid and holding back, like one who is bringing his own hide to market and has nothing to expect but--a hiding."

  • Jonathan Chait: The Obama Scandals Used to Be a Thing: "Sifting through the Republican responses to President Obama’s climate speech Tuesday, an odd omission could be found — or, at least, it would have seemed odd as recently as a week or two ago…. The word that never appears in any of them is scandal. Not a one of them claimed Obama was attempting to distract America from his scandals…. The whole Obama scandal episode is a classic creation of a “narrative” — the stitching together of unrelated data points into a story. What actually happened is this: House Republicans passed a twisted account of a hearing to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who misleadingly claimed to have seen it, creating the impression that the administration was caught in a major lie. Then the IRS story broke, which we now see was Republicans demanding a one-sided audit and thus producing the impression of one-sided treatment. In that context, legitimate controversies over Obama’s civil-rights policies became the “three Obama scandals”…. The collapse of the Benghazi story happened very quickly, when Jake Tapper’s reporting found that Karl had peddled a bogus story. (It’s notable that the only misconduct in both the Benghazi and the IRS stories was committed by House Republicans.)… Now that the IRS scandal has turned into a Darrell Issa scandal, we’re left with… an important dispute over domestic surveillance, which has nothing to do with scandal at all. The entire scandal narrative was an illusion."

  • Ross Douthat Looks with Fear and Horror at the Prospect of Growing Old in an America in Which His Church's Refusal to Perform LG Marriages Is Viewed with as Much Horror as a Church That Excludes African-Americans from Communion Today...: Religious Liberty and the Gay Marriage Endgame: "The future of religious liberty… is going to depend in part on the magnanimity of gay marriage supporters… content with… the traditional view of marriage as a minority perspective with some modest purchase in civil society, versus the extent to which they decide to use every possible lever to make traditionalism as radioactive in the America of 2025 as white supremacism or anti-Semitism are today…. If religious conservatives are, in effect, negotiating the terms of their surrender, it’s at least possible that those negotiations would go better if they were conducted right now, in the wake of a Roe v. Wade-style Supreme Court ruling, rather than in a future where the bloc of Americans opposed to gay marriage has shrunk from the current 44 percent to 30 percent or 25 percent, and the incentives for liberals to be magnanimous in victory have shrunk apace as well. Again, I don’t endorse this perspective, and as a foe of judicial aggrandizement I want to believe that McCarthy and Domenech are right about the advantages, both to conservatives and to the country, of settling the marriage debate in state capitols rather than in Washington D.C. But as social conservatives fall back on federalist arguments and state-by-state debates, the scenario sketched above is one they should at least keep in mind."

  • Robert Parry: The Marriage of Libertarians and Racists: "In the U.S. news media, there is often a distinction made between the racist Right, which emerged from the struggle to maintain slavery and segregation, and the “small-government” Right, which supposedly represents a respectable conservatism focused on the libertarian ideals of personal freedom and free-market principles. But the reality is that both of these major branches of the American Right grew from the same political trunk, i.e., the South’s fear that a strong federal government would intrude on the practices of slavery and, later, segregation. And, throughout U.S. history, those two branches of the Right have been mutually supportive. Thus, prominent leaders of the 'libertarian' Right – the likes of William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and Ron and Rand Paul – have opposed major legislative efforts to combat Southern segregation, typically citing the 'liberty' of a white restaurant owner to bar black patrons as trumping the right of the patrons to be treated fairly."

  • Felix Salmon: The spread of link rot: "When Anil Dash lamented, last December, about the web we lost, he wasn’t speaking literally — he was talking about a culture which got swept away by a tidal wave of Silicon Valley money. But with today’s news that Google seems to be about to vaporize a significant number of the blogs on its Blogger platform, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the problem of link rot isn’t going away — if anything, it’s getting worse. I’m a great believer that once something is placed on the internet for free, it should continue to stay there, for free, unless there’s an extremely good reason to delete it…. But now web hosting is effectively free, there’s really no excuse — and one might hope that, as a result, we’d see less link rot. But that’s not what’s happening. For one thing, the institution of the permalink is dying away as we move away from the open web; if you’re not even on the web (if, for instance, your content comes in the form of a show on Netflix), then the very concept makes no sense. What’s more, we’ve moved into a world of streams…. And of course it has never been easier to simply delete vast amounts of content at a stroke. (For instance: the Kanye West and Alec Baldwin twitter feeds.)"

  • Balloon Juice: Time to ask some questions: "GOP reps face a tough dilemma between serving their constituents and hating the Affordable Care Act like it shot their dog. At the same time the party as a whole needs the ACA to fail… a lot of single Reps will have a hard time with re-election if people see them playing political games with the health and livelihood of individual constituents…. There are three ways that a GOP Rep can go with this. Some of them will talk tough to the press but do their job like a grownup when real constituents call with real problems to address. Some other faction… will punt…. Most of all we need to keep an eye out for the fabricators, liars and true believers whose staff genuinely believe the pap in the morning blast fax from Glenn Beck…. Let’s start with questions that everyone should know. Say that I have a pre-existing condition and cannot get an individual market plan for any price. Can I buy one in October? How would I do that? The correct answers are yes and it depends on the state; in most cases we do not know the full details yet. If you feel like testing their bad faith, tell them you heard there will be death panels. I will not offer a script because you should really use your own words for this. Staffers’ interest often ratchets way down when they start hearing the same wording twice. Try being polite but a little slow and ask for clarification when possible."

  • Ich bin ein Berliner:

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