Arnold Kling  

Apologies to Menzie Chinn

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He takes offense at my earlier post.

I meant to poke fun, not to dismiss Chinn as ranter or an ideologue. What I am poking fun at is the habit that people on the left have of calling themselves and their colleagues "non-ideological" while referring to anyone on the right as a ranting ideologue. I find that a very irritating, smug way to approach things.

I absolutely do not wish to emulate that irritating smugness. My utmost apologies to Chinn, because I do not wish to dismiss his opinions with name-calling.


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COMMENTS (20 to date)
SheetWise writes:

Don Boudreaux recently defined the ideological divide as clearly as I've ever seen.

"I want to keep what I earn" is regarded as greedy and unenlightened.

"I want to take what you earn" is regarded as selfless and progressive.

-- Donald J. Boudreaux


Ken in Canada writes:

Hey StreetWise,

That definition clearly shows the ideological divide from one side. Does the definition give us a clue to which side of the divide Boudreaux is most likely on?

...ken...

SheetWise writes:

Ken,

I use the handle SheetWise -- not streetwise.

If you believe this is a skewed perspective, explain why. At least it's consistent with the rhetoric. I don't see this analysis as ideologically partisan -- Boudreaux's comments could as easily have been made by a left wing ideologue (but would have been made in private).

Better yet -- assuming there is another side -- explain the divide from that perspective. Don't hesitate to use the words greedy, unenlightened, selfless, and progressive in place of other euphemisms. Clarity is the objective.

SheetWise writes:

Awaiting your response, and going to bed.

Some of us have to work. To me TGIF only means two more working days until Monday.

marmico writes:

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beezer writes:

The community of man protects individual rights in return for individual responsibilities.

a non-ideological statement.

Ken in Canada writes:

Sorry Sheetwise, I'll pay more attention in future.

Articulating the definition in just those words and using the second statement to back up the first in the same fashion makes it look like a righty being pejorative or provocative.

In simple terms, it looks like a classic case of an economic righty taking a shots at economic lefties, nothing more. It can be seen a dozen times a day, from either side, in these blogs and similar discussion fora.

I guess it serves as an illustration of one aspect of the economic ideological divide as might be seen from one side of the divide but it did nothing to define the entire economic ideological divide, in my view.

An amusing image comes to mind when reading those two lines. I imagine a Daily Show skit where those lines are thematic for a group of IRS (CRA in Canada) bureaucrats in a policy discussion about how to seperate us from even more of our money. Strictly as a ploy to gain advancement and having nothing whatsoever to do with ideology.

You did not specify which ideological divide that was supposed to define. I'm assuming from the content that it was the (an?) economic ideological divide. There are so many ideologies and so many divides that I'm not sure a single definition can exist or would be much use if it did. It depends upon which divide between which ideologies you are talking about: finance/economic, religion, politics, whatever.

I certainly have nothing to offer by way of a definition because some of those ideologies hold no interest for me, either side. ... I suppose that could be just one side of another ideological divide. ???

I was already in bed when you responded. Since I retired TGIF has become meaningless as have weekends and stat "holidays". Weekends and stat holidays just mean that golf green fees are more expensive than the other days and the parks are more crowded.

...ken...

SheetWise writes:

"In simple terms, it looks like a classic case of an economic righty taking a shots at economic lefties, nothing more. It can be seen a dozen times a day, from either side, in these blogs and similar discussion fora."

Certainly the statements could be seen as a pejorative shot from the right -- but only if you're a part of the uninformed left. That is the divide. Those on the right will view the statements as truths meant to advance an argument. Those on the left will add them to their playbook and deny them, using the sentiments only to advance their cause. Have you ever read Rules for Radicals? Alinsky would have admired those lines.

"An amusing image comes to mind when reading those two lines. I imagine a Daily Show skit where those lines are thematic for a group of IRS (CRA in Canada) bureaucrats in a policy discussion about how to separate us from even more of our money. Strictly as a ploy to gain advancement and having nothing whatsoever to do with ideology."

I don't really find it amusing, because it's too close to the truth. There's very little in politics that has anything to do with being authentic.

"You did not specify which ideological divide that was supposed to define. I'm assuming from the content that it was the (an?) economic ideological divide. There are so many ideologies and so many divides that I'm not sure a single definition can exist or would be much use if it did. It depends upon which divide between which ideologies you are talking about: finance/economic, religion, politics, whatever."

Which divide? It's between those who propose interfering and those who do not. I tend to believe that all rights flow from economic freedom. Without economic freedom, there are no other rights. I don't believe politicians should meddle in agreements between people, whether those agreements involve economics, marriage, or medicine. That belief places me all over the map on the left-right spectrum.

The ideological divide I see in Boudreaux's sentiments is between those who want freedom and those who want control.

Don the libertarian Democrat writes:

Very well done. I wish more people were like you.

dilbert dogbert writes:

Don Boudreaux recently defined the ideological divide as clearly as I've ever seen.

"I want to keep what I earn" is regarded as greedy and unenlightened.

"I want to take what you earn" is regarded as selfless and progressive.

-- Donald J. Boudreaux

If this is the level of Mr. Boudreaux's argumentation then there is not much to argue about. It approaches the level of: When did you stop beating your wife?"

RL writes:

Here's the non-ideologic point many seem to be missing (though I doubt Dr. Boudreaux missed it):

"I want to keep what I earn [to spend it all on myself] IS viewed as greedy and unenlightened. That's true for people on both the right and the left.

"I want to take what you earn [legally, through the tax system, to help the poor]" IS viewed as selfless and progressive by most on the left and some on the right.

The more basic, ideological, question is whether someone should have the right to use your money in progressive and selfless ways, or whether your rights include spending your money greedily on yourself.

SheetWise writes:

"If this is the level of Mr. Boudreaux's argumentation then there is not much to argue about."

Absolutely correct, there is not much to argue about -- because it is not a controversial point, simply an observation. What we can argue about how people of different political persuasions feel about this truth.

Really didn't mean to hijack this thread.

SheetWise writes:

RL -

I've never seen such a long list of bizarre assumptions packed into such a short post. I really don't care what other people do with THEIR money, but I'm fairly certain it's often progressive and selfless -- even when they don't intend it to be!

Mark A. Sadowski writes:

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Ed Sanders writes:

Boudreaux's oversimplification of the situation comes close to defining the problems of a libertarian philosophy in a world of complexity.

I wouldn't have a problem w/ Boudreaux's "earner" keeping what he earned if he got it all on his own, but none of us do that. From the public schools, to the public roads to water and sewer systems and our system of laws itself, you can't have it w/o paying something.

He's greedy not because he wants to keep what he earns, but because he doesn't want to pay his share.

Babinich writes:

"He's greedy not because he wants to keep what he earns, but because he doesn't want to pay his share."

Please define what "his share" is and how that share is calculated.

spencer writes:

Since Don Boudreaux is paid by the tax payer according to the standards he advances his share should approach zero.

Zz's writes:

"He's greedy not because he wants to keep what he earns, but because he doesn't want to pay his share."

:( You're arguing the other side if you follow the "paying his share of public services" argument through. Each citizen should pay in exact proportion to the public services they consume? Libertarians would see that as a nice step in the right direction. Also, "greedy" is a word with no hard definition and "fair share" is an open-ended and undefined argument. (E.g., 10% of income a century ago and 91% a half-century ago were both argued as someone's "fair share." If 10% is truly "fair," then not only is decreasing it unfair, but increasing it is unfair as well. No matter what the amount is, when you hear someone say fair share he really means "more than the current amount.")

Marc writes:

I'm disappointed in this apology. Chinn is profoundly ideologically driven (something he cannot even bring himself to admit, and something made obvious by the arguments he makes; surely you've read his blog once or twice the past 8 years), which is fine in and of itself, but you have simply given him license to continue playing the agrieved party despite the patent fact that he engages in exactly the behavior you say you do not want to emulate. I've grown very tired of left-leaning academics throwing fits every time they receive a bit of turnabout, and I truly do not understand why anyone tries to make nice with people displaying this behavior, regardless of which side of the aisle they stand.

Mike44 writes:

I'm not surprised by these comments:

"I want to keep what I earn" is regarded as greedy and unenlightened.

"I want to take what you earn" is regarded as selfless and progressive.

-- Donald J. Boudreaux


Four percent of the human population is incapable of feeling empathy toward their common man. We see this on Wall Street, sell out Main Street, by sending jobs to China, for example. These are the people that fund the Chicago School, a global Catastrophic Failure. The right has great capability when it comes to destroying economies and producing snarky phrases.

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