Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Libertarians and Rick Santelli, the intellectual successor of Joe the Plumber

Comment to very weak stuff from Wil Wilkinson, who should know better.
Redistribution, Fairness, and Stability: commentary broadcast by American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report.
> ... Rick Santelli ... a small flame of populist resentment shouldn't be ignored.
How am I supposed to distinguish Rick Santelli from Joe the Plumber? Personally, I am going to ignore this "small flame of populist resentment" because it seems to be fully contained among floor traders and Republican establishment dead-enders.
There are substantive criticisms of the Obama stimulus, namely, that it has zero connection with fostering businesses using profits to hire from an educated work force. Exiting this recession is impossible without businesses using profits to hire from an educated work force. The crudest of Keynesianism will not do it -- breaking windows for great success.
So the libertarian response is to embrace the intellectual successor of Joe the Plumber. (Don't plead ignorance of this, I read the same libertarian blogs you do.) Disappointing, considering the stakes. I can point out at least one omission: you didn't follow Bobby Jindal's lead and rail against volcanoes and the volcanistic arts. Perhaps in a follow-up...
Wil goes off on me.  Here is my reply:
I read the whole piece.  I didn't listen to the audio.  If there was some undulation of inflection in your voice that was supposed to telegraph your disapproval of the pseudo-populism of Santelli, I missed it.  I apologize.
I read your stuff daily, and I was genuinely disappointed that you would take Santelli's rant as _indicative_ of _anything_.  I swear, I cannot see the difference between Santelli and Joe the Plumber.  Maybe it was the forum, audio for Marketplace Morning instead of your blog, that pressed that choice of topic upon you, but I was truly disappointed.  It is not your duty to care about my disappointment, but I read you everyday, so I have a basis to say commenting on Santelli is beneath you.
[The "volcano" bit was unfair.  I plead, I did it for the lolz.]
I am a Leftist, but I am rooting for the libertarians in this fight.  Arnold Kling's analysis is the only one that rings true (cautiously approaching sound post-Keynesianism from side of the libertarian right: jobs paid for with business profits).  So I am disappointed when Kling gets recorded making a hysterical and inopportune sound-bite about "thugs ransacking my house" [why not just lay out the facts before the people who pay the bills, and let _us_ worry about how it makes us feel], and I am disappointed when you hitch a wagon, rhetorically, to the phenomena that is Republican pseudo-populism [Rick Santelli and Joe the Plumber, I guess Sarah Palin too].

No comments: