Saturday, February 28, 2009

Democratic Denials of Class Warfare

For some reason Dr. Hussein Biobrain has developed an irrational obssession with trying to repudiate the widespread and fundamental understanding of the Democrats as the party of class warfare and economic redistribution.

Of course, even small children learn that leftists glorify the Robin Hood myth that the wealthy are evil and that it's righteous for redistributionist crusaders to transfer wealth from society's most dynamic and innovative to those who are slovenly and less productive. Indeed, by college most students in the liberal arts become familiar with the ideological underpinnings of leftist class warfare through the readings of thinkers from
Karl Marks to John Rawls.

In other words, it's a no brainer that Democats can't stand the concentration of wealth and that, IN PARTICULAR, they demonize those who have more at the expense of those who have less. Not only that, the Democratic Party itself has gone through at least three decades of electoral frustration at the presidential level as the party of the poor, the party of class grievance and big government redistributionism. The Bill Clinton administration was universally understood to have advanced a new vision of "neoliberal" Democratic governance that EXPLICITLY repudiated the hard-left Democratic Party constituencies that sought to expand the welfare state and raise taxes on the rich. When President Clinton signed the 1996 welfare reform act into law, top Democratic Party insiders excoriated the administration's "
war on the poor."

In 2004, as the Democrats were hoping to recapture the White House,
Rick Perlstein cited pollster Mark Penn to argue that the party was hobbled by outdated "appeals to class grievances and attacks upon corporate perfidy" that were becoming "increasingly hollow" amid an economy in which young "wired-workers" saw themselves as the new leaders of a more socially progressive left-wing coalition.

So it's extremely quixotic that Dr. Hussein has written a new post trying to refute this fundamental truth about American politics, in a post entitled, "
Assumptions of Class Warfare." Dr. Hussein takes a stab at my postulation of the class warfare assumption:

As Donald explained in a comment to me, he felt no need to explain why Obama's tax plan is class warfare because it's already assumed to be the case. But of course, that's not how arguments work. If I explain why Position A is wrong and someone wants to refute my argument, they don't just get to say "Position A is correct because I assume that Position A is correct." That's just lame and a complete embarrassment to online debates.

Not that we can't have assumptions in arguments, but this is the KEY assumption. This is the primary assumption that I was attacking in my original post. Yet Donald has now used it twice as the basis for his entire argument.
All of this is true. But what's interesting is Dr. Hussein's attempt to berate and belittle on the use of THIS analytical assumptions. The truth is that assumptions are basic to theory building and poltical analysis. It's not just that we can have them "in arguments," but that it's totally and embarassingly stupid to repudiate them so openly, especially one like Democratic class warfare which is irrevocably ingrained in the American consciousness. Indeed, Dr. Hussein's whole program to destroy a cental assumption like this one violates basic principles of clear thinking and rigorous deduction:

This is a view shared by Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov. In Understanding Physics, Asimov spoke of theories as "arguments" where one deduces a "scheme" or model. Arguments or theories always begin with some premises—"arbitrary elements" as Hawking calls them (see above)—which are here described as "assumptions". An assumption according to Asimov is

something accepted without proof, and it is incorrect to speak of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving it to be either (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption). It is better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on whether deductions made from them corresponded to reality ...
So note here, an assumption really is something that is neither positively true nor positively false.

In Dr. Hussein's case, it's demonstrably hare-brained, frankly, to work so feverishly to rebut something that top personalities in his own party long-ago accepted - from President Bill Clinton on down - as a fundamental failure of Democratic ideology.

Now, if Dr. Hussein's trying to prove that President Barack Obama's never used EXPLICITY USED the words "class warfare," that would be another matter. But that's not all he's doing. Dr. Hussein's arguing that the notion of class warfare itself is a strawman "that conservatives invented years ago." In other words, Dr. Hussein rejects the notion that today's Democratic Party is in fact ENGAGING IN class warfare. In response my earlier post showing how President Obama's own statements have deliberately and shamelessly mined the vein of class warfare,
Dr. Hussein writes:

I can see how these could be interpreted as remarks against the upper-class, they sound much more like attacks on Republicans and their policies. Obama's not saying that the rich were evil for receiving tax cuts.
So as you can see, Dr. Hussein can only focus on what the president actually said. He can't disprove the assumption of Democratic class warfare, because assumptions are not subject to falsification. All he can do is show that the president didn't call anyone evil. Of course, Obama can let his proxies do that, since when the president attacks the rich for seeking to "transfer wealth" and for refusing "to invest" in the American future, that's the explicit dog-whistle code language that sends the radical leftists to the barricades.

What this whole exchange demonstrates is the larger truth abouth the Democratic Party and the radical left.

The party and its key constituencies are divided existentially on questions of basic identity. Their political program is not in doubt, which is of course the current move in fiscal policy that marks the
largest budgetary expansion in American history.

President Obama, the Liar-in-Chief, is himself embarking on a campaign to fight his political opponents using rhetoric that is "carefully calibrated to blur such big government activism." On the other hand, some of the party's constituencies include neo-progressive Marxists who outwardly and proudly advocate a return to Kennedy-era top marginal tax rates of 91 percent on the wealthy.

Now THAT'S class warfare!

However, very few Democratic partisans are willing to come right out and admit they are class warriors, which is why Dr. Hussein's working endlessly but hopelessly to tamp down what is clearly an objective truth, in other words, a basic assumption of American life. The Democrats are now fighting a class war. They are proposing the biggest budget in American history, raising taxes on the affluent, and attempting to sell this fiscal extremism as "fairness."

Of course, this is fundamentally dishonest.

That shouldn't be surprising in Dr. Hussein's case. The man's truly a deviant liar and a despicable partisan malcontent. Excoriating conservatives and Republicans as the scum of the earth makes his world go 'round, and if he has to lie, cheat, steal, and distort to advocate his program of godless postmodern nihilism, that's what he'll do.

As always, don't listen to a word of it. These people have no virtue whatsoever.

See also, Larry Kudlow, "Obama Declares War on Investors, Entrepreneurs, Businesses, and More."


Dave said...

I hate to break it to Dr. Hussein, but the Democrat Party owes its power, if not its very existence, to its ability to foster wealth envy among the populace.

I have heard no shortage of malcontent talk show callers who, once pressed, fully admitted that they had voted for Obama simply to "stick it" to the rich guy, even if they weren't going to financially benefit themselves from his election.

Right now, the Obamanistas are frantically preparing legislation that is aimed squarely at the small business owners in this country.

Here in Georgia, 97.9% of those employed work for these businesses.

Perhaps down the road, Dr. Hussein will publish a paper explaining just how he got his next job from a poor person.

I won't hold my breath waiting for it.


AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks for commenting, Dave!

Doctor Biobrain said...

So Donald, you're pinning your entire argument on the idea that because the basis of your argument is an assumption that it can't be proven or disproven? And you dare call ME the postmodern nihilist??? Good lord, man. Do you even read this stuff before you hit Post? Well, I'll have fun taking this apart, for whatever it's worth.

And what would be so hard about summarizing my position or addressing any of my points? It would indicate that you actually read what I wrote and perhaps understood it. Your entire post is just one long rationalization for why you won't actually engage in debate. It basically boils down to: My opponent is wrong because everyone knows he's wrong. Sorry Don, but that wasn't very convincing the first two times you tried it either.

And geez, your hyperbole in smearing me at the end was absolutely breathtaking. I've honestly never understood why you insist on demonizing me. A malcontent? Dude, I'm one of the happiest people in the world and exude optimism. And I've never once suggested that Republicans are scum. Why do you invent such absurdities? I swear, I'm a good guy who enjoys debating. Why do you have to make this so difficult?

Doctor Biobrain said...

And here is my latest rebuttal to this mess:
Again with the Class Warfare

Doctor Biobrain said...

Dave, just so you know, I'm a self-employed CPA and all of my clients are small businesses. And from what I've seen of the tax plan so far, every one of them would get a tax reduction. I don't know how many small businesses in Georgia make more than $250k profit, but none of my clients are that lucky. Many of them don't even make that much in total revenue. You guys are VASTLY overstating the impact of this.

Besides, I thought this was class warfare. Yet small businesses don't generally fit into the upper-class. Either we're "sticking it to the rich" or we're screwing small businesses. But if we're doing both, it's not class warfare. You guys really need to work on your message discipline.

Oh, and Dave, exit polls show that Obama got 52% of those making over $200k annually, while McCain only got 46%. So apparently, a majority of rich folks didn't get the class warfare memo. Or perhaps those were just self-loathing rich people.

Anonymous said...

Stick, please?

On Dr. BioBrain's blog, the Web-famous blogger known as Donald Douglas has apparently posted the following:

"An assumption is just that ... it's not something to be proved or disproved."

Nor is such a contrivance to be accepted in any way as having any intrinsic weight or merit beyond its immediate utility to the one who hoists it. Assumptions are FOR CHALLENGING, Sir!

Fact: Scientists prove and/or disprove stuff all day long. It starts as "theory", which consists of a body of assumptions all based on all that can be and indeed is observed of the item at hand and question. Debaters, however, are not always scientists.

There is where it all goes sticky for some.

A debater will puncture or validate the selfsame things that a scientist will reliably prove or disprove to the satisfaction of all but the hardest hardcore tinfoil-y wingnuts (and we shall always have some of those) by merely semantic means (sometimes appropriately applied, sometimes not, depending). But just because it is a debate does not mean that naked brass knucks and biting of all kinds is allowed, my friend! That false-based attitude is popular in "Power Politics" circles but have we all been so very well served (let alone governed) by such as those of late?

It is a sad thing when a scientist's honest proof is crushed by a sleazebag "debater's" assumption. Sadly, although the prior four Republican administrations pumped America full of "Compassionately Conservative Assumptions" (also known these days as "Greedy BS"), we the People are now living in the living PROOF that the "Unassailable Assumptions" were and are (ain't they always?) based on lies, power, convenience, advantage, denial and contrivance, force and fraud to the advantage of the already-well-off over all others. "Some people call you rich... I call you my BASE", quoth GWB on the 2000 campaign trail, and he was not kidding his RICH audience at the time.

So who else did that one help? Anyone you know?

So who was really doing actual class warfare (as in the rich eating the poor alive) from the start? How shall it be stopped? Um, does the word "BALANCE" mean much to you today?

Odd that Republicans even today like to call themselves "conservative". Nonetheless, it is by now abundantly clear that they do, after all, reliably (also cheerfully) destroy more Amrican as well as non-American lives once in power than they ever strive to assist, let alone mend. So this destruction - what does it "conserve" except for the destructionists' very phat 'n' shiny bank balances?

Remember: "Conservatives" of the "Compassionate" label started the whole ugly "Useless Eaters" meme on the AM Talk Radio with a "consolidated" (aka MONOPOLIZED) "Free Market" and NO MORE "FAIRNESS DOCTRINE" ALLOWED, did you forget? So why might one ever now complain of Obama+Dems making "Class War" and not recognize the steepening slide toward National Feudal Serfdom for all of less than a $2b Net Worth that has for the moment been apparently averted?

Note: I say "Apparently" because the entire "New Recovery" hope-thing is in fact merely (once again!) circularly financed, Ponzi-style, from the start. Um, we as a Nation could have gone with sound money and hard work, we might have at one recent point. But the candidates who would have done that for us all once inoffice - Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, to name but three, were NOT ALLOWED. Only the ones who would back a Ponzi Model were allowed on stage.

Follow the REAL MONEY.

But no, what Bush et al dug us all into with his false-flag warmaking, feed-the-rich giveaways and all-pervading cronies-only "Goombah Model" of public governance privatized, Obama is ramping the bankers out of - into those two fair-sized lifeboats over there by the rail, see 'em? Meanwhile we in the second-class berths are encouraged to just enjoy the view of the icebergs off the starboard bow and wonder if dinner is again to be delicious... While the band plays on... Deck chair? Ginnantonnix? Blankie and sleepie-time again?


I pray for the awakening of the folk in Steerage Class, I do. Routing the ship's stack gas emissions through the lower decks as a means of "Pollution Abatement" is MURDER, my friend! But what does that little "M-word" detail ever matter to a modern "conservative" shipowner, anyway?

Um, excuse me, but isn't that top-quoted very rationale precisely and almost beautifully symmetrical in a recognizably circular way to yourself, as well as most if not all adult humanoid others?

Fact: The mental "ability" to first adopt exactly any arbitrary position (aka "assumption") and then flogging all others into the ground by means of assumption-based force and fraud, propaganda shriekdown and "neener-neener-neener-I-can't-HEAR-you!" misbehaviour to the detriment of all (except, for a season, maybe the person or party that wields the neener-bludgeon) is exactly the manner of "reason" that a certain sort or ilk of defective thinkers once dominent in US politix still uses with sickening regularity instead of CARING ADEQUATELY and DOING THE MATHS PROPER. Researching the actual facts and adjusting their (or even the nation's) course accordingly just might prove too much like top-grade precision professional HONEST WORK when compared to a glib application of an assumption-based or "faith-based" (same dirty trick) "Political Fix" that just buggers everyone blind, except the blind assumption-wielders themselves, what with that-there corrupt model of Privatized Public Governance to shield and prop up?

What is so damn "conservative" about having learned to adopt and then force a lie, no matter the size? "Radically criminal" rises to mind as the accurate appraisal, my friend!

BTW: Where do "conservatives" get off, once they start "conservatizing" the entire world+dog into their own pockets and offshore banking accounts while the dysentery rate spikes for lack of fresh clean drinking water, the babies starve in their mothers' arms and the women themselves go without even the minimal health care because of the slave wages and hollowed-out "programs" that are known all around the world+dog to be today's new "Conservative" norm?

Example: Think of the Bush Admin's Very Shiny "Drug Benefit" with the built-in "Donut Hole" that left soooo many sick Americans to die in pain and misery. (I have lost two friends thus far from the deadly false compassion of American "Conservatism", so I am not "assuming" a damn thing about this.)

[piratemode] The "conservatives" in America, me bucko, be aught but the radickal dickheads of Them the Rich-Arse'd Base, 'ere in America, y'see. That is all they be, Matey, and you best likely know it too lest ye be the greater fool, arrrr-rr-r. Mind ye, the genuine ones be rare - but know that them kind will save what is worth keeping instead of wrecking the works right out from under the entire Ship of State and all her crew at a privatized profit, arrr-rr-r. [/piratemode]

You do write nicely, Sir, as does Doctor Nihilist, whom you should really dignify with his screen name instead of calling him every damnable twisted meme in the book. You BOTH write very nicely, you know? But the above-quoted "Unassailable Assumption" bit is exactly the recognizably misshapen position that has stood from the most ancient beginnings of classic intellectual exercise as unassailably bogus. Any normal linear-thinking reality-based person who examines it with normal vision will reliably recognize the ill-scented and somewhat greasy smoke-stain that its corrupting and distinctively second-rate presence reliably leaves on any handy mirror whenever it is exhaled.

Excuse me while I grab the Bounty® and Windex®, OK? Just because it is MY MIRROR and YOUR SMOKE does not mean that I think I am "too good to clean anything" or whatever assumption just might likely pop out of the hole next shot. On the other hand, I do strive to avoid all such exhalations as a strong general rule, which is quintessentially conservative in itself, don't you think?

Fact: I'd throw any man-jack out of my own office whom I found "working" for me in that STUPID self-aggrandizing bugger-the-works manner. Gee - come to think of it, I have already done that very thing three or four times in the early years of my manufacturing career. Them circular-thinkin' types sure be sneaky on even the second interview; took a while to learn to spot 'em, but I for one no longer must get myself hurt for not being able to so spot such as them, any more.

I did better afterward in my own wee bizness after the firing, every time, too. I am sorry, Sir, but no assumer of circular logic as normalcy shall ever taint my own sweet operations again - you for one are hereby rather compassionately (for that is my nature) and truly conservatively (for I must prevent my own vulnerable and unique Floral-Motif Art Glass production and marketing operation from all manner of degradation and destruction at the "Just-fake-it-if-can't-make-it" hands of all such ilk as that) pre-fired. :)

For that matter, I do not hire nihilists either. DIfferent operative factors, same base reason.

NB: Bush said it right: "The terrorists work hard, day and night, finding new ways to destroy America - and so do we."

It isn't HIS fault that only a few semantically aware ones actually believed those words on the spot, now is it? Everyone else needed eight years of being robbed blind in their sleep before consenting to at last stop throwing those wingnut-laden little balls of tinfoil at us while heckling the reality away wwith their ASSUMPTION of Compassionate Conservative Benevolence... He was manifestly NONE of those three, and threw the entire balance out of joint; Mr. Obama's Band-Aid'll Ponzi up another bubble to crash the world, is all... All on the ASSUMPTION that everyone else in the world is blind as blnd can be.

IMHO: A REAL Statesman would have moved promptly and with due diligence to simply RESTORE the EQUITABLE BALANCE with SOUND MONEY and related socioeconoimic policies. Well, Mr. O et al seems to have got it as much as even half-right.

Here's the Talking Stick back now. NIce grouse feathers, too. I am Walking Turtle, it is sort of nice to meet you both in passing, and that is all.

Dave said...

"So apparently, a majority of rich folks didn't get the class warfare memo."

I have seen the demographic studies of the average government-educated Obama voter.

It isn't pretty.


Doctor Biobrain said...

"I have seen the demographic studies of the average government-educated Obama voter. It isn't pretty."

Dave - Do you mean how Obama won a majority of every age group besides Senior Citizens? Or how he split the vote of those making over $50k? Or was it that he got 52% of those who have been to college, 53% of those who graduated from college, or 58% of post-grads? Were those the demographics you were referring to? Or perhaps you were referring to ideology, and how he won 60% of moderates and 52% of Independents.

And I totally understand why you'd think this "isn't pretty." Because it's obvious that Obama won wide support from throughout most demographics. In fact, the only demographic that McCain excelled in was with white people over 30 and Obama pulled in over 40% from them too. This all points to a shrinking base with few signs of hope. As Donald has mentioned before, young voters were Republican when Reagan left office. They've been steadily moving to the left ever since.

And does it need to be said that the demographic McCain did best in was with white people who didn't go to college? I think it does. Perhaps that would explain why they're so illiterate when it comes to how our tax system works.

Here are those numbers, if you'd like to read them and weep.