Monday, September 27, 2010

'Super Rich' Law Professor Todd Henderson Bails on Blogging After 'Electronic Lynch Mob' Attack

Glenn Reynolds had this earlier, but you gotta read Kashmir Hill. She's got the best off-beat take on all things the web. See, "‘Super Rich’ Law Professor Retires From Blogging After ‘Electronic Lynch Mob’ Attacks His Position on Taxes."


Naturally, it's the comments at his post that freaked him out. I'm still winding my through them, but this stuff is mild compared to the excrement Sadly No! will rain down your blog. Professor Henderson apologized for the post here, and he announced his blogging retirement here. One of my rules is not to blog too much about my personal life, and especially details about my family. No one says it better than the professor himself:
The reason for this note is because I’ve decided to hang up my blogging hat. I was a fool, and I didn’t anticipate how this kind of thing could happen. As many of our readers and my students know, I’m opinionated and willing to push boundaries. This is what I think is the role of a professor, and blogging allowed me to do it in an informal and diverse manner. But I misunderstood the technology, and the consequences are devastating for me personally. I wish I had just stuck to blogging about corporate law and such, but I couldn’t help myself. Self restraint would have been the better course. Perhaps someday I will return and limit my commentary to my academic areas of interest. For now though, I have to say good bye. I’ve enjoyed the experience and the interactions I’ve had with readers and, of course, my co-bloggers. I am sad to leave, but my family has to come first, and my blogging has caused them incalculable damage.
Kashmir Hill responds:
That, with all due respect, is the wrong move. By exiting from the conversation, he’s losing a strong defender of his ideas, as well as the chance to take back control of his Google footprint. His post was a huge success, generating a serious conversation about a tax hike and how to define “rich.” Among the productive comments driving the conversation forward were personal attacks on Henderson, as noted and lamented by Henderson’s co-blogger Larry Ribstein. “If the comments to this blog over the last week represent the state of the discussion we are having about economic policy,” wrote Ribstein. “Then I truly fear for this country’s future.”
Again, as I'm posting this, I'm still working my way through the comments. I've yet to find something truly vicious. (And recall I recently had a commenter suggest: "... get over yourself douchebag, you're nothing but a bag of meat and your thoughts and desires are meaningless and you are a worthless" piece of shit.) That said, I'm astounded at how a few of the comments indicate that Professor Henderson isn't entitled to keep his own money, nor decide how he should spend it:
The gist of it is this guy is whining that his GARDENER and his HOUSEKEEPER will suffer and you are CRYING for him??? Shame on your greedy little hearts. He’s going to have to give up extra lessons for his kid? He may have to *gasp* enroll them in PUBLIC SCHOOL??? Will the tragedy never end for him? I love the (implied) impossibility of finding a home with a lower mortgage in a less chic area (by the way, before you hop on your fear stallions, not everything that is “less chic” is a “cesspool of seething drug crime”. Even in Chicago).

No one ENVIES this putz. We PITY him for his tremendous effort to cling to his undeserved entitlement issues. This isn’t an “increase” in taxes. It’s a roll back.

Think of it like this: you get a coupon from the supermarket and now cereal is cheaper. Then the coupon EXPIRES. Then you cry and sue the supermarket. Wait… you DON’T cry and sue the supermarket? Then, please, shut up. Whiner.The tax rate is going BACK to what it WAS. Was this guy BORN in 2001? If not, he survived prior to the roll back.
And again, in another iteration:
The entitlement issue is being able to afford a gardener, a maid, a nanny, private school and side classes for his kids and still have money left over because he gets to keep the temporray tax rate and make it permanent. If he isn’t “rich”, then the private school, gardener, et al, are sacrifices that will cost him just like they would the REST of us “not rich” folks. Hey, guess what? Most of us DON’T GET THOSE THINGS BECAUSE WE CAN’T AFFORD THEM (being “not rich” and all).

Only someone who BELIEVES he DESERVES those things would cling to them in a time of financial crisis. That sounds like an “entitlement issue” to me (See… it means he believes he deserves it= “entitlement” and it is causing him stress and problems= “issue”. Get it?).
Scrolling down, I found a pretty angry attack on Professor Henderson, which concludes:
Your essay was not amusing. It illustrates the selfish, mean-spirited, whining, wimpering, short-sighted, scrofulitic tone that now pervades politics from the right.
But that's about the meanest thing I've found, and I've learned that "scrofulitic" means "morally degenerate." And for what? As one of the commenters defending Professor Henderson pointed out, the guy's already paying $100,000 a year in income taxes. His spending is out of whack, sure, but whose isn't? Brad DeLong takes him to task for that and uses poor family budgeting as a case for paying more in taxes. If it were me, I'd see if we could cut spending, especially on Social Security, Medicare, state welfare entitlements, and education. And yes, defense spending. Americans are over-taxed. Maybe Professor Henderson should have been more judicious in his blogging, not to mention his household budgeting. But what's really alarming is how the leftists think that what he earns is theirs. And that's anti-American.


Opus #6 said...

This is naked envy. Coveting is a sin. These nasty people need to concentrate on their own lives, and stop taking stock of the professor's hired help. Good lord, people. Isn't this American anymore? This man is living the American Dream. What is wrong with that.

I'm sorry to hear he will stop blogging. He is a perfect example of the "rich" that Obama is trampling. But he is really a HENRY, High Earner, Not Rich Yet. These are the people who's downfall will cause a permanent depression to set in. MR. HENRY was NOT hoarding his money. He spent it at schools and creating jobs. And people want to castigate him? This is why the Obamanation is a failure. Everybody wants to kill the Golden Goose.

Rusty Walker said...

Right, Dr. Douglas, it is mild compared to what you get thrown at you, but to the uninitiated, without your street smarts, this is still really bad. You give out as much as you take, but for most of us, it is too unsettling to engage in hate-speak.

Still, the level of hate and anger smacks of envy; vile comments all in capital letters to make their point on what they are calling his “entitlement” is puzzling. He has many years to college, makes a decent (not wealthy) salary commensurate with what a university professor in the law makes, probably what Obama made when he lived in that neighborhood. He hires domestic help; kids in private schools! So what? What is so terrible about a guy trying to show how expenses add up? He pays a lot of taxes.

Why so much hatred and anger attached to political differences? – Let’s take this one simple issue and see if cases can be made without profanity:
Liberals want to tax the rich (over $250,000) and spend on entitlement programs; “spread the wealth they say,” and even during critical economic times, spend for what they believe to be the welfare of the people; they believe this will end up deficit neutral if Obama & Biden say it will.
Conservatives believe that lower taxes allow more businesses to expand and hire more people to work, and therefore money is infused into the economy, and this benefits the people; entitlements should be postponed during economic hard times, government spending reduced.

There- a short argument for both sides without spewing abject hatred at anyone.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Opus and Rusty.

I'm just blown away how folks think that what is someone else's is theirs!

Kashmir Hill said...

Thanks for the shout out. I think that the folks at Truth on the Market moderated the comments and removed the worst ones. I'm still an advocate of thick skin, though.