Posts tagged ‘Markos Moulitsas’

Kos is not Tempting

Leading "progressive" blogger Markos Moulitsas is trying to tempt libertarians to the progressive cause.  He tries to convince libertarians that growing corporate power should scare them more than government power.  Uh, no.  Hammer of Truth has a good rejoinder:

Moulitsas still cites corporate power over people as a problem, and
still fails to recognize that corporations gain their undue power from
government. Government is the enabler, empowering corporations to step
on individuals and small businesses through both regulations and
subsidies. It's only by restraining government that corporations can be
held in check, and it's unfortuate that Moulitsas hasn't figured this
out yet.

Nearly every government law, from anti-trust to trade law to licensing, generally is written to benefit incumbents who make campaign contributions against upstart competition.  Also, by the way, corporations can't send people with guns to your house if you don't cooperate with their will. 

I have in the past been at the executive level of several Fortune 50 companies, and this notion of corporate power is hilarious.  In each case, our situation seemed like that of a wounded, lumbering elephant, trying to stay just ahead of a back of small but swift predators.  Sure, our very size meant that sometimes we did damage from our thrashing around, but to somehow call this power is absurd.  We were constantly fighting against our own size to try to hold on to what market we had.

Finally, with corporations, including the current great Satan Wal-Mart, I can always choose not to shop or work there.  The IRS and the US Congress offer me no similar protection from their control.

More good stuff along the same lines from Catallarchy

In this older post, I went into more depth on why progressives never will like capitalism, because they are too conservative (little-c).  At the end of the day, progressives like Kos want to reduce risk, variability, unpredictability and general "messiness".  These goals carry too high a price in terms of lost freedom and lost upside for humanity.

Political Party as Fashion Statement

A while back I lamented that so few people actually strive to maintain a consistent personal philosophy, rather than a hodge-podge of isolated political views.  In this context, I thought the profile of "progressive" Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (the Daily Kos) by the sympathetic progressive-liberal Washington Monthly was interesting.  For example:

The younger-than-35 liberal professionals who account for most of his
audience seem an ideologically satisfied group, with no fundamental
paradigm"”changing demands to make of the Democratic Party. They don't
believe strongly, as successive generations of progressives have, that
the Democratic Party must develop more government programs to help the
poor, or that racial and ethnic minorities are wildly underrepresented,
or that the party is in need of a fundamental reform towards the
pragmatic center"”or at least they don't believe so in any kind of
consistent or organized manner. As this generation begins to move into
positions of power within the progressive movement and the Democratic
Party, they don't pose much of a challenge on issues or substance. So
the tactical critique takes center stage.
Moulitsas's sensibility suits his generation perfectly. But it also
comes with a built-in cost. Moulitsas is just basically uninterested in
the intellectual and philosophical debates that lie behind the daily
political trench warfare. By his own admission, he just doesn't care
about policy. It's here that the correlation between sports and
politics breaks down. In sports, as Vince Lombardi is said to have put
it, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." When the season is
over, you hang up your cleats and wait for the next season. But in
politics, that's not the case"”you have to govern, and if you don't
govern well, you won't get reelected. So while tactics and message are
crucial, most voters will ultimately demand from politicians ideas that
give them a sense of what a party is going to do once in power. Wanting
to win very badly is an admirable and necessary quality in politics,
and Moulitsas is right that Democrats have needed it in greater
quantity. But it is not really a political philosophy.

This article tends to reinforce a notion I have had of late, that is a trend toward political party as fashion statement.  For example, I get the impression that many of Kos's audience call themselves Democrats more because of the statement they think it makes about themselves rather than a thought-out comparison of the various party's positions and how they stack up vs. their own thought-out philosophy.  I am starting to sense that people choose parties for their brand-image rather than for the actual positions or people who represent them.  Democrat might mean "I am smarter than you", "I am with-it and cool", "I am dynamic" while Republican might mean "I am patriotic", "I am moral", "I am level-headed".  By the way, don't send me mail for the wrong reasons -- I am not saying the parties actually consistently meet these images, I am just saying that a large number of people seem to adopt their party to make these kind of statements about themselves.

Postscript:  If you think I am exaggerating, then someone needs to explain to me how a Democratic president can send us to war in Bosnia with Republicans opposing and then have a Republican president send us to war in Iraq with Democrats opposing when at the 40,000 foot level they are the same freaking war (US intervention to unseat a genocidal dictator with at best unclear UN mandate and opposition from key European nations).  I keep coming back to the simplistic explanation that the default political position is "I got my guy's back no matter what, and you guys suck no matter what", which I admit effectively compares the current political discourse to the chants at a Michigan-Ohio State football game, but I'm going to go with it.

PPS-  As a good libertarian, though, I am happy to know that young progressives are not necessarily pushing for more state control.

I Was Right

I predicted just a week ago that recent media credibility issues would lead to (misguided) calls for tighter credentialing and licensing of journalists:

I resisted the call by a number of web sites at the beginning of the
year to make predictions for 2005.  However, now I will make one:  We
will soon see calls to bring a tighter licensing or credentialing
system for journalists, similar to what we see for lawyers, doctors,
teachers, and, god help us, for beauticians
.  The proposals will be
nominally justified by improving ethics or similar laudable things,
but, like most credentialing systems, will be aimed not at those on the
inside but those on the outside.  At one time or another, teachers,
massage therapists, and hairdressers have all used licensing or
credentialing as a way to fight competition from upstart competitors,
often ones with new business models who don't have the same
trade-specific educational degrees the insiders have.

Hah, it didn't take a year - it only took a week.  Several commentators point out that those jumping all over the Jeff Gannon affair are effectively arguing for tighter credentialing.  From Glenn Reynolds:

I also think that the people who are trying to inflate this into a big
issue are making a dreadful mistake. I eagerly await the reaction when
the White House responds to this criticism by requiring everyone who
attends a press briefing to make a full financial and sexual
disclosure, and starts rating news outlets as "real" or "fake"
according to bias. (If I were Rove I'd make some rumblings about this
to the press corps, and I'd explicitly cite the lefty bloggers by name,
just to stir up trouble . . . .)

David Corn warns:

There is a need for professional accreditation; space is limited. Yet
there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing journalists with
identifiable biases to pose questions to the White House press
secretary and even the president. And if such a reporter asks a dumb
question--as did Gannon/Guckert (which triggered this scandal)--the
best response is scorn and further debate. Bloggers should think hard
when they complain about standards for passes for White House press
briefings. Last year, political bloggers--many of whom have their own
biases and sometimes function as activists--sought credentials to the
Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why
shouldn't Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos
Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George
W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?