Patterico's Pontifications

2/25/2020

Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:57 pm



[guest post by JVW]

At this point is anybody actually watching?

It seems like the object tonight of everyone not named Bernard Sanders is to try to knock Bernard Sanders down a peg or two. And no, I don’t think this entails a wishy-washy “I believe in a lot of what he believes, but I don’t think he’s electable” sort of approach; this entails going after the Vermont Senator as a crypto-Marxist who has consistently had kind words for America’s enemies while continually ascribing the most maleficent motives to our country’s actions. It means an honest appraisal of how much good the Federal Government can truly accomplish if given virtually unlimited tax resources, and whether that sort of activism has the unintended consequence of making citizens into pliable and helpless wards of that state. And finally it is, in that great assessment of Kevin Williamson, to question whether a Sanders Administration could really use Venezuelan methods to produce a Scandinavian outcome.

But I don’t think any of those other clowns have that much sand in them, so Comrade Cranky is probably going to skate right through the evening.

Feel free to add your observations in the comments.

– JVW

Bernie and Socialism Must Be Rejected; Or: Looks Like Another Protest Vote for Patterico

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am



In recent posts — and yesterday’s The Flight 93 Election in Reverse — I have expressed that I have been tempted to vote for the Democrat — any Democrat — to reject Donald Trump. The comments yesterday convinced me that this temptation was wrong, and that another stupid protest vote will be my best choice in the general election. I wanted to say a few quick words to elaborate on the temptation and why I am rejecting it.

In my view, Donald Trump has done the same great job on judges that a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio would have done, and has taken positive steps on immigration (witness yesterday’s Supreme Court lifting of the stay on the new green card rule, which I hope to write about soon) that Cruz and Rubio probably would have shied away from. His deregulation has done much to counteract the effects of his submoronic tariff policies. He kept his promises on things like moving our embassy to Jerusalem.

That’s some of the good stuff. But there’s way more bad stuff.

Trump has also lied more than any public figure in our lifetime. He has destroyed critical norms of noninterference with criminal justice, and behaved in every conceivable way like a criminal. He has attacked allies and given comfort to murderous dictators. He has profited off government service like the cheap grifter he is. He has made a mockery of classified information and security clearances, denying the latter to honorable former servants while granting them to his grifter son in law over the objections of screeners who saw Jared’s screaming red flags of dishonesty, carelessness with IT security, and skeevy financial dealings. I could go on and on and on. Donald Trump has always and everywhere put Donald Trump first, his immoral and ignorant children (OK, three of them) second, and America a distant third.

Because he is such an awful human and such a dangerous president, the natural inclination is to vote him out. Nothing else works. As I said yesterday:

With a two-party system in which Senators of the same party of the president will almost never vote to impeach him, it is impossible to remove him through impeachment. Given that fact, along with a Justice Department that refuses to indict a president who has not been impeached, we now know that a criminal cannot be removed from office, except through an election or through violence (which, again, is immoral, wrong, and unthinkable).

But the Democrats seem hellbent on picking Bernie Sanders. He calls himself a socialist, and I believe he is at heart a communist. It’s a bridge too far.

You are reading one of the most hardcore supporters of the free market you’re ever likely to read. Not the most articulate or knowledgeable, but one of the most hardcore. I believe the free market is the only system compatible with freedom. As I wrote in December 2008:

I’m skeptical of government intervention in economic affairs, because I believe they can lead to unintended consequences that are hard to predict. And I’m generally a believer in free-market principles. The idea is that the free market is the economic system most compatible with freedom, because rather than putting our trust in government to manage the economy, I believe we should trust the collective wisdom of consumers to make whatever decisions are best for them. As those decisions multiply, markets form as if by magic — and (in theory at least) it causes the best businesses to flourish while less useful ones fail. Put simply, a collection of choices, freely made, forms our markets.

I support “systemic processes that have evolved over time, building on the wisdom of humanity collectively — but stemming from individual decisions, not by a single group of philosopher kings, but by everyone in society.” I am “a believer in the price system, which directs entrepreneurs to move their resources into the lines of production most demanded by individual consumers. Like magic, this results in shortages being met by supply, and gluts being met by slowing demand, all providing for efficiency — but also, very importantly, in a higher standard of living for the least fortunate in society.”

Bernie is against all of that. He is for government intervention — which, taken to its logical extreme, results in true socialism: ownership of the means of production by the state. And that kills people. By the millions. History proves it.

I can’t vote for a guy like that.

But if you choose to do so, as a rejection of Trump, I will not criticize you. Let me say a little more about that as well.

I have never — ever! not even once! go back and check! — criticized anyone for voting for Trump as (in their eyes) the least bad alternative, as long as they did so with their eyes wide open to his faults. My criticism is reserved for his superfans who twist facts and logic to deny his faults. It has never been directed at sensible people voting realistically.

So yes, I can’t vote for Bernie, even as the strongest expression of rejection of Trump and his ignorance, corruption, and dishonesty. Bernie rejects some of the most important principles I believe in, and stands for too much I despise. But here’s my pledge to you. If you have decided to vote Bernie as a rejection of Trump — knowing that Bernie’s policies are destructive but believing that they will be reined in by divided government — I may disagree with your choice, but I will respect it. If you start waxing on about the glories of the state-run economy, I can’t respect that. But, just as I never once criticized the eyes-wide-open Trump voter, I will never excoriate you for taking any legal non-violent step you can take to reject Trump and Trumpism. This, I promise.


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