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Meet the Press Is Incredibly Painful

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Sunday, 22 December 2013 11:41

Sorry, for family reasons I am seeing the Sunday morning shows. It's amazing these things exist. David Gregory is interviewing Yuval Levin about his book Tyranny of Reason, Imagining the Future, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Left and Right.

The book sounds like collection of painful cliches, the left likes activist government, the right believes in leaving civil society to work things out for itself. Really? So the patents and copyrights that shift far more money to the wealthy than food stamps and TANF shift to the poor are just civil society, not activist government. Trade policies that put downward pressure on the wages of most workers, while largely protecting doctors and other highly paid professionals are also just civil society, not activist government. Bank bailouts and no cost too big to fail insurance for the big banks are just civil society, not activist government.

There is a much longer list of such policies in my book The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive (free download available). There is zero evidence that either Levin or Gregory has ever heard of any of these arguments. They are determined to just repeat tired cliches that have nothing to do with actual politics.

The cliches of course do help to advance a right-wing agenda. It sounds much better to say that the rich got really rich by the natural workings of the market rather than by paying off the ref to write the rules to benefit themselves. The reality might be much closer to the latter, but Gregory and Levin apparently don't even want anyone to think about such possibilities.

Comments (10)Add Comment
Correction..
written by Mark Brucker, December 22, 2013 11:47
So the patents and copyrights that shift far MORE money to the wealthy than food stamps and TANF shift to the poor are just civil society, not activist government.
Sunday Morning in America: Tiny Minds Surpass "Birth of Left and Right"
written by Last Mover, December 22, 2013 12:39
... the left likes activist government, the right believes in leaving civil society to work things out for itself.


What!? Even the cliches directly contradict what they claim to represent.

Edmund Burke was adamantly for government in resistance to change he considered wreckless and destructive, while Thomas Paine was adamantly for government as well, which he considered essential to enable changes necessary to counter wreckless and destructive outcomes.

It is insulting to be lectured by mindless sock puppets yelling on Sunday morning that Thomas Paine "believed in (more) government" while Edmund Burke "believed in (less) government."

Is it such a stretch for their tiny minds to grasp that both believed in government for different reasons, that their differences did not lie along the libertarian-socialist spectrum but instead, along the rate-of-acceptable-change spectrum?

Essentially Burke wanted to take things slow to diffuse and control whatever risks may emerge too quickly and government was needed to keep things stable. Paine was more open to taking those risks by giving more control to individuals over government, traditions and institutions, including being more aggressive in the American Revolution.

In fact, their differences reflected key historical differences between 18th century "liberals" then versus now, which are reversed. An example is the treatment of technology. A favorite line of today's conservative used to justify deregulation, is technology always outruns the law that can't keep up, something Paine would say and of which Burke would be skeptical.

The mindless sock puppets of TV talk shows not only have the history wrong. Where in any vocabulary does "activist" government necessarily mean "more" government compared to "less" government in the absolute context implied? Russia, Germany, Italy and China repressed its own people for years with a static government that changed very little.

If they want talk about the difference between anarchy and government, then talk about it. But stop the brainwashing insults that assume "government" is
mutually exclusive from the private sector and private property, from which an inane strawman of "activist" government is bandied about as if everyone was a Very Serious Person for whom this is obvious.

The only thing obvious is the sock puppets are bought and paid for by the 1% to stay on message, that is, to keep the message static and free from activism.

You want activism America? Reform campaign finance election laws and watch the sock puppets wither away into the twilight. Let the real differences of left and right from the past return to debate without sock puppets.

At least America would be out from under the tyranny of a one-party dynasty ruled by the 1%, and Edmund Burke would be the first to ask how it happened. Was Thomas Paine too risky with government activist deregulation?
...
written by watermelonpunch, December 22, 2013 1:14
Sorry, for family reasons I am seeing the Sunday morning shows. It's amazing these things exist.


I spent MY morning playing Gran Turismo 6 with 11 other people. So there's 11 of us who can say we spent our Sunday morning (afternoon in some cases) in a less silly way than a famous economist!

No need for you to apologize, Dean Baker. You have my heartfelt condolences for what you had to endure our of social obligations.
Might I suggest your family invest in a deck of playing cards? ;o)


At any rate, that's the right playing to the Libertarians & the wannabe libertarians. When they're wasting their breath for the most part. From what I've heard, true, thoughtful Libertarians don't buy that B.S. either. Just sayin'.

Now, if we could just get the fantasy land pseudo-libertarians and general conservatives, to realize that they're continuing to be handed a pack of nonsense, just like the rest of everybody...

But as long as peeps keep insisting on finding entertainment in ridiculous political opinion shows, instead of taking up more useful hobbies (such as video gaming), the propagandists will continue to have a venue to peddle dumb crapola.
...
written by bobs, December 22, 2013 1:27
If it's any consolation, looks like David Gregory is about to get the boot from NBC.
A find alternative to wasting your time but still "hear" what was said
written by jumpinjezebel, December 22, 2013 1:45
This guy relates the BS of the talking heads on all the Sunday shows sometimes with a lot of humor. Saves time.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/22/sunday-morning-liveblog_n_4489226.html
Not everyone can afford WSJ, WaPo, and NYT paywalls, thus amazing TV...
written by jaaaaayceeeee, December 22, 2013 2:29

Not everyone can afford WSJ, WaPo and NYT to gate debate - thus TV

and Bobbleheads documents the atrocities: http://moonshinepatriot.blogspot.com/
...
written by watermelonpunch, December 22, 2013 8:55
written by jaaaaayceeeee, December 22, 2013 3:29

Not everyone can afford WSJ, WaPo and NYT to gate debate - thus TV


And yet, this blog documents all the flaws with those too. So it's not like you even get what you pay for.

BTW: I can't afford the WSJ, WaPo, or the NYT... or any one of them individually. But I still don't watch tv much. Can't afford cable either!
Well, at least I think there are much better things to spend my money on than any of the aforementioned.

Though, once in awhile I turn on my local over the air PBS station to watch NHK News.
They get things wrong sometimes too. Or leave crap out that distorts stuff.
Like some months back they had a report on the U.S. Postal Service financial problems, and failed to mention at all the nutty law requiring the USPS to fund retirements for employees not yet born.
paywalls at NYT, POST, etc
written by disco stu, December 22, 2013 10:35
Everyone *can* afford the NYT etc. simply by using chrome and using the incognito mode.Whether one should do that is a question one has to resolve.
And yet, this blog documents all the flaws with those too...
written by jaaaaayceeeee, December 23, 2013 3:47
written by watermelonpunch, December 22, 2013 9:55

"And yet, this blog documents all the flaws with those too..."

If only we could clone Dean Baker to document all the atrocities! Monday's big editorial by Bill Keller defines a left-left and a center-left, then says it doesn't matter anyhow because nothing will change any time soon, because partisanship (money and power not fit topics?): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12...ef=opinion

Bill Keller's definition of "left-left"? Those people who want to make the rich poor, hate reform because it means taking stuff away, and include left-lefties like Elizabeth Warren.

Keller's definition of "center-left"? Maybe smarter than Keynes, because although they ignore demand, monopolies, full employment policy, revenue, capital gains, estate and unrepatriated profits tax rates, at least Keller can praise their priorities of cutting corporate tax rates, regulations, deficits, and the entitlements (Medicare and SS) that will swallow us all. Also appreciates trade pacts for improving competitiveness! Keller calls hawking right wing policies being left-center.

This blog's beating of hard news reporting, creates a tiny island of sanity. But news media is a lot more than hard reporting, doing the old poll tweaking (remember Gore was boring and earth toned?) with Obama the safe target now, and any progressives must be taken down as rich eating lefties.

As Ezra Klein wrote in Nov, "If most election narratives cast the campaign staff as key actors, “The Gamble” focuses on the centrality of the news media. Over and again, Sides and Vavreck record the candidates acting -- and the media reacting, filtering, covering, assessing. That process determines what information voters do and don’t hear. It’s also a process that members of the news media tend to overlook, in part because it raises complex questions about their role in shaping what they cover".
Viewer
written by viewer, December 23, 2013 1:23
Well I'm a liberal and I'm definitely for changing the Sunday Talk Shows! It would be great if they had real accountable experts - and why not? I'd watch when I could if they did.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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