Another Shining Example of Liberal Open-Mindedness

Writing about this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, Frenchman Jean Tirole, the New Yorker’s John Cassidy let’s fly with typical condescension right at the beginning:

In general, I’m not a fan of the economics Nobel. Too often, since it was first given, in 1969, it has been used to reward free-market orthodoxy, as evidenced by the plethora of prizes awarded to scholars at the University of Chicago.

Apparently it’s not enough that the Nobel Peace Prize and prize for literature are often used to endorse activist left-wing views.  The Nobel is only unsullied if it is uniformly liberal I guess.  Amazing how petulant liberals like Cassidy become when just one of the Nobels deviates from lockstep conformism with liberal conventions.

Hmm, maybe all those Chicago guys—Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Ronald Coase, etcetera*—deserved the economics Nobel because they had original and consequential insights into economic life that made a real difference in the lives of millions, unlike Nobel Peace Prize winners like Al Gore.  Friedman’s monetarism is accepted even by most left-wing governments; many liberals in the 1970s embraced Stigler’s findings about competition and regulation, and Ronald Coase’s 1961 essay “The Problem of Social Cost” remains the single-most cited law review article in history, respected by thinkers on the left as well as the right. I’ve got a hunch that Cassidy has never seriously read anything from the Chicago thinkers he disdains. Because New Yorker.

Meanwhile, if you’d like a good summary of Tirole, whose work appears forbidding and esoteric on the surface, check in with George Mason’s Tyler Cowen, who shoots about as straight as they come. Cowen likes Tirole:

It’s an excellent and well-deserved pick. . . . Overall I think of Tirole as in the tradition of French theorists starting with Cournot in 1838 (!) and Jules Dupuit in the 1840s, economics coming from a perspective with lots of math and maybe even some engineering.  I don’t know anything specific about his politics, but to my eye he reads very much like a French technocrat in terms of approach and orientation.

* Whether F.A. Hayek deserves to be considered a member of the “Chicago School” of economics is a controversial matter that I’ll leave for another time.

Jean Tirole

Jean Tirole


This is featured on Drudge at the moment:

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The link goes to this Reuters story:

President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.

When liberal news outlets talk about Obama in such blunt terms, things are grim. More:

Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity. …

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.

Far be it from me to kick a man when he is down, but note that those who walked out on Obama were all–presumably–Democrats. They didn’t leave because they disagreed with the president, but rather because they were bored by him. Which highlights a point I have made before: contrary to assurances the Democratic Party press has been giving us for eight or ten years now, Barack Obama is a mediocre public speaker, at best.

The New Normal and Millenial Voters

The Obama administration is in many respects a more sinister version of the Carter administration. Now, as then, we hear talk of a “new normal.” Pundits and news people who recognize that the economy is lousy, but can’t believe that liberal policies are the cause, conclude that we will just have to get used to slow growth, lower incomes, massive underemployment and a fast-rising cost of living. This “new normal” is not so terrible if you are middle-aged or elderly (unless you were laid off in your fifties), but it is something like a death sentence for the young.

As I recall, young people were Ronald Reagan’s best demographic. This was not because Reagan was a hipster steeped in popular culture, but rather because young voters refused to accept the Left’s dictum that America was washed up and that the days of opportunity were over. They voted for opportunity and for the continuation of the American dream.

The same thing ought to happen now, and in 2016. Young people are crazy if they base their votes on gay marriage and the preferences of gazillionaire musicians and actors. If they want a future, they will have to rebel against the new normal that liberals have in store for them. They need to fight–among other places, at the ballot box.

This is the appeal that Republicans need to make to millenials, and some creative types have created images that make the point vividly. Brad Thor tweeted a number of them; I am not sure where they originated, but maybe a reader can add that information in the comments. Here are a couple. There are more where these came from, at the link:

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OK, one more:

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I think these people are on to something. Republican candidates should take note.

The Priebus proviso

I don’t recall hearing anything both witty and true said on one of the Sunday morning gabfests in a long time, but I thought RNC chairman Reince Priebus got it done this morning in his appearance with DNC chairman Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz on FOX News Sunday. Asked by Chris Wallace whether Dems would hold their majority in the Senate, Schultz responded: “We’re going to hold the Senate because over the next couple of weeks and leading up to even today [sic], the one issue voters are going to ask themselves, Chris, is ‘Who has my back?’ And on issue after issue, Democrats have stood up for jobs, for the economy, for investing in education and health care,” and so on and on.

Alluding to leaks that Obama wants to lose Schultz as DNC chairman, Priebus responded: “You guys are losing everywhere, and the president hasn’t had anybody’s back. He hasn’t even had your back.”

I score that an ouch! for the bad guys.

Via Tim Cavanaugh/NRO.

Will Black Voters Turn Out This Year? Why Should They?

There is a lot of buzz today about this article in the New York Times: “Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate.”

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

That last line sounds like a takeoff on the old joke, Democrats vote on Wednesday. But the broader point is no doubt correct: President Obama was re-elected in 2012 despite his poor record in office because of a historic turnout by African-Americans. There was no similar surge of black voting in 2010, and Republicans swept. Much the same will happen this year unless Democrats succeed in their efforts to motivate African-American voters, which the Times article goes on to describe.

But the Democrats may have a problem here that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of driving turnout. Barack Obama is not on the ballot this year, but as he himself has insisted, his policies are. It is easy to understand why black voters consider Obama to be their guy and support him loyally, but do they have the same motivation to vote for a continuation of the policies of the last six years? Blacks have been hurt more than anyone else by the Obama administration’s economic policies; their labor force participation continues to be alarmingly low. And vastly expanding importation of low-skilled workers, as the Democrats want to do, will further devastate the black working class.

So if blacks don’t turn out this year in the numbers they did in 2012, the reason won’t necessarily be that they don’t know when the election is. It may be that lots of them, like the rest of us, would just as soon see different policies implemented in Washington.

Is it safe to laugh?

The omniscient Glenn Reynolds picked up the image below from a Twitter feed. If Obama’s own incompetence isn’t making him “seethe,” this photoshopped image just might do it. I’m filing this under Laughter is the Best Medicine. All I can say is thanks, I needed that.


New frontiers in freedom

I may be mistaken, but it has seemed to me for quite a while that the campaign for gay marriage is about something other than “freedom” or “acceptance” or “equal rights.” The point of the campaign seems to me that we are compelled to get our minds right, to borrow the resonant phrase of the jailers in Cool Hand Luke. The proponents of “marriage equality” demand our inner assent. Disapproval is prohibited. If sexual practices are akin to racial characteristics there is a logic to the reorientation that the new civil rights regime means to engineer.

Consider the case of Donald and Evelyn Knapp:

[A] case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation….

The Knapps certainly don’t represent the end of the road we’re on. New frontiers in freedom beckon.