Explication, Language, and Mathematics in Economics: Thinking Like an Economist

Should-Read: Good conservative ideas become liberal ideas. The only conservative ideals left are those that are not good. Some of them are not good, but because they are plutocratic the plutocrats like them, and they often pass. Some of them are not good, but because they are fascist the fascists like them, and they often pass. The others? Conservatives run from them: consider the conservative flight from RomneyCare. Why do conservatives run from them? Because once they become attractive to liberals they no longer serve as identity markers, and identity markers are primary: Mike Konczal: Why Are There No Good Conservative Critiques of Trump’s Unified Government?: "We aren’t just seeing the chaos of... Trump...

...We are also seeing that the Republicans ultimately don’t have the ability to pass the agenda that they spent the past eight years, and really the past several decades, arguing for. This is a different implosion.... If they can’t ultimately move their ideas to the point where their own intellectuals can find interesting things to say about their failures, that means we should understand their whole project to be far weaker than they admit.... An agenda has clearly passed—tax cuts for the rich, stuffing the judiciary and administration with deregulators, and actions against civil rights and towards more punitive immigration enforcement.... The actors who matter are the business interests and the base.... The mediating conservative infrastructure simply doesn’t matter much, either as actors or chroniclers. For all the talk about brilliant policy minds on the Right who want to reform the state, the real brilliance and energy in their agenda is in not investigating Equifax, giving corporations tax cuts for fissuring their workforce, unleashing ICE and dismantling the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

At best, the Right’s policy voices are all ideas and no consequences. More likely, they form a kind of entertainment industry that only is consequential to the extent it channels business interests or mass resentment. My understanding is that some of the analysis of what has gone wrong is being done in quiet rooms, led by the money people and the lobbyists. But if all the real analysis is done in private, and its goals are only to boost a balance sheet or channel talk radio, why should we read conservatives?...

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