If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise

Knowing as I do that the media is going to puff every tentative step forward by Obama, whether confirmed or not, I’ve simply ignored the news all day.  I’m feeling stressed, but want to wait until tomorrow for a definitive answer, rather than to suffer through the roller coaster of breathless and, usually, ill-informed information.  That’s why I have nothing to say about what’s happening with today’s election.

However, I’ve decided on optimism.  If the McCain/Palin team wins, I’ll be happy, because that’s what I want and because I believe they’ll be a good team.

If the Obama/Biden team wins, however, there will also be some silver linings:

  1. My husband will be happy and will stop holding me personally responsible for everything he hates about the Bush administration.
  2. Bush Derangement Syndrome will go away and, perhaps, absent the severe negative mental stimulation that BDS created, garden variety Democrats will become less heated in their politics and retreat to a more moderate position.
  3. Israel, freed from the restraining hand of an administration it sort of trusted, and exposed to all the risks of an administration that will almost certainly be hostile to it, will begin to act aggressively, and might take out Iran’s nukes.
  4. Two years of all-Democrat, all-the-time, should take the bloom off the rose for a lot of Americans.
  5. Because being in the American media means never having to admit you were wrong or say you’re sorry, nothing will stop the MSM from turning against Obama.  In other words, because the past will be forgotten, if Obama doesn’t live up to the expectations of various media representatives, they will cheerfully turn on him with unparalleled viciousness.
  6. There is a possibility (albeit a small one, I think), that Obama will prove to be a very good President or, at least, a competent one.  And since my first love is my country, rather than a politician or a party, I hope to be gracious in acknowledging his virtues, assuming there are any.

In other words, the world will not end tomorrow.  And if it’s an Obama victory, we still bear the responsibility as citizens to work for the best possible America, both socially and politically, both at home and abroad.

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Comments

  1. Friend of USA says

    That’s the opinion of Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics. Now, who’s being absurd?

    They gave a Nobel Peace Prize to Arrafat who was a terrorist who did everything he could to avoid peace with Israel.

    They gave a Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore who did NOTHING for world peace and who is the biggest snake oil salesman in the world and who is unqualified to talk about world climate and who is making zillions of dollars in carbon trading.

    so who is being absurd?

    The Nobel people are being absurd.

  2. pst314 says

    “America is the leader of the free-world.”

    There’s an old saying, “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Unfortunately, too many “progressive” Europeans prefer to throw stones.

  3. Deana says

    On a different topic:

    Did anyone see the video tape last night of Obama supporters who were celebrating near the White House? One guy was actually waving a Soviet flag. My mouth fell open.

    Forget about what the Soviets did to those in other countries – don’t they know that millions upon millions of Soviets were killed by their OWN countrymen?

    I just can’t believe that someone would celebrate the win of a presidency with a symbol that represents death, destruction, and utter lack of liberty.

    Deana

  4. pst314 says

    “One guy was actually waving a Soviet flag.”

    I’m not at all surprised. There’s an old joke that liberals see Communists as merely “liberals in a hurry”. Over the years this has become less a joke and more literally true. Did you know that in much of Western Europe schoolchildren are taught that Communism was, in many ways, admirable and good? Sure, they got too “enthusiastic” and millions were died which was regrettable, but their ideals of equality and ending poverty were impeccable. Never mind that their ideas about how to end poverty were utterly wrong, and that their “solution” to inequality and unfreedom was to create a universal, all-pervasive god-state. Those errors are still invisible to most “progressives”.

  5. Deana says

    pst314 –

    I had never heard that joke before. That’s pretty funny! And yet sad, when you think about it.

    It sort of surprises me how much people don’t know about history. I’ve recommended this book here before but it’s worth repeating. Earlier this year, I read:

    “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia” by Orlando Figes.

    After about the first 75 pages in which Figes paints the scene, he then delves deeply into what regular folks experienced during Stalin’s reign.

    I simply could NOT put that book down! I took it everywhere with me, sneaking away to read it, even if just for 5 minutes. It was just this fascinating look into people’s lives and how Stalin and communist ideology affected the Soviet people over the decades.

    It made me realize how critical it is for people to understand that good intentions and soaring rhetoric are not the criteria by which political ideas and movements should be judged. Actual results are what should matter. When they don’t, the harm that caused the initial damage is simply repeated, over and over.

    Deana

  6. BrianE says

    “The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

    “The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system,” he said.

    That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.”- Stiglitz

    “If you can’t find an economist of equal prominence as Stiglitz who refutes his claim, then there is no reason for me to waste my time finding and analyzing the data.”- Ravana

    Stiglitz has become the darling of the left, anti-globalization crowd. Look it’s no secret that the left abhored the war. But cheap credit began before the war, as a result of the recession of 2000 and it had already been announced by Franklin Raines in 1999 that as part of social policy, they were going to make $2 trillion of subprime loans. You know, the risky kind.

    You are right that the fed should have raised interest rates in 2004-2005 to slow the economy. For that I do blame Greenspan.

    But to say that the war caused the crisis, as opposed to the medicare prescription drug plan, or any other deficit government spending. Why only the war spending?

    I would be interested to see you break down the costs Stiglitz claims for the war. At first he said $1 trillion, his latest figures are $3 trillion and rising.

    If you’re looking for an argument that cheap money policy is good, you won’t get it. If you’re arguing that consumption can sustain an economy, no argument.

    I actually agree with him on this, from an Aug interview with MSNBC:

    Joe Kernen: JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER ECONOMIST AND PROFESSOR AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, STILL, PROFESSOR, WELCOME.GOOD TO SEE YOU. STILL ALMOST $9 WORTH OF SHAREHOLDER EQUITY PER SHARE. WOULD YOU GO TO SLEEP AT NIGHT THINKING AT LEAST I’VE GOT MY $96 EQUITY IN FANNIE MAE? WILL THAT HOLD UP WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE?

    Stiglitz: PERHAPS NOT. WHAT BOTHERS ME FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF PUBLIC POLICY IS THAT FREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE MAE CAME TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS, ASKED FOR THE RIGHT TO WRITE A BLANK CHECK. CONGRESS GAVE THEM THAT RIGHT. WHILE WE ARE, AS TAXPAYERS, IN A POSITION TO PUT MORE MONEY INTO FREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE MAE.THEY’RE TAKING OUT MONEY. TO ME THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. IF THERE IS A THREAT OR A LACK OF LIQUIDITY IN THE FIRM, WHY ARE THEY STILL PAYING DIVIDENDS AT ALL? ANY DIVIDEND. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT, YOU KNOW, WE PASSED LEGISLATION GIVING THEM THE RIGHT TO BORROW FROM US AND NOW THEY’RE TAKING OUT MONEY WHILE WE’RE POTENTIALLY PUTTING MONEY IN.

    Becky Quick: AND YOUR POINT IS ALSO THAT THE TAXPAYER SHOULD BENEFIT ON ANY UPSIDE ALONG WITH THE RISK FROM THE DOWN SIDE AND THE WAY THE AGREEMENT IS SET UP, WE WON’T SEE ANY UPTICK

    Stiglitz: AND THE DOWNSIDE IS GETTING LARGER THE MORE MONEY THEY TAKE OUT. IT WENT THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND REDUCED IT.
    Kernen: LOOK HOW MUCH THEY SPEND ON LOBBYING. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS GLARINGLY INAPPROPRIATE IN THE SYSTEM BUT IT ALL GETS ATTRIBUTED TO, HEY, THIS IS THE — THIS GREASES THE WHEELS OF THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY. WE NEED THEM SO LET THEM DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.
    Stiglitz: THAT WAS A FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKE. WE GO INTO BANKRUPTCY, WE HAVE A CHAPTER 11 WHICH IS DESIGNED TO KEEP PEOPLE — FIRMS GOING. KEEP EMPLOYEES ON THEIR JOB, TO KEEP ENTERPRISES GOING, BUT WE RESTRUCTURE FINANCIALLY SO WE –SHAREHOLDERS ARE WIPED OUT. CREDITORS BECOME SHAREHOLDERS.NEW EQUITY INJECTIONS. WE KNOW ABOUT THIS AND ALL THE OTHER INDUSTRIES.
    WE COULD HAVE KEPT FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC GOING. WE COULD HAVE PROTECTED, YOU KNOW, THE INTEGRITY OF OUR HOUSING INDUSTRY BUT NOT PROTECTED THOSE GUYS WHO ARE TAKING OUT MILLIONS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, REWARDED HEAVILY. YOU LOOK AT THE SALARIES. THAT’S WHY THEY HAD THE LOBBYISTS. THEY’RE THERE TO PROTECT THEIR OWN INTERESTS. WE SHOULD HAVE SAID, LOOK, WE MADE A VERY BIG DEAL THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT GUARANTEEING THE GSE. THE GOVERNMENT SPONSORED ENTERPRISES, WE HELPED CREATE THEM, BUT THEN 40 YEARS AGO WE SAID YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN. WE PRIVATIZED THEM. AND THERE WAS ALWAYS THIS LITTLE BIT OF AMBIGUITY WERE WE PROFITIZED OR NOT?

    Quick: IT’S THE STRUCTURE AND THE WAY IT’S BEEN SET UP. SOME LAWMAKERS MAY SAY, HEY, WE DO WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY. IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT. WE HAD THE HUD SECRETARY, STEVE PRESTON , HERE. HE SAID IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT.THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS HE DOESN’T LIKE IN THE BILL AS WELL BUT WHEN YOU’RE DEALING WITH BILLS THAT QUICKLY GET PASSED THROUGH CONGRESS, IS THERE ANY WAY?
    Stiglitz: THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR THIS BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN IN A PROBLEM WITH THE HOUSING SECTOR SINCE AUGUST OF 2007. ACTUALLY I’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT A PROBLEM IN THE HOUSING SECTOR FOR MUCH LONGER THAN THAT. SO THIS HAS BEEN ANYBODY WHO HAS BEEN ON THE JOB SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS PROBLEM COMING FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS SO TO SAY THAT YOU WERE TAKEN BY SURPRISE IS INEXCUSABLE. IF YOU’RE IN PUBLIC OFFICE, YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD CONTINGENCY PLANS. SO THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE.

  7. BobK says

    Ravana,

    It would not surprise me in the least if the totalitarian Chavez or the armageddon-baiting Ahmedinejad were to call Sen. Obama and congratulate him. I believe it would not be a result of respect, though. Quite the opposite. The goals of these ‘leaders’ and the states they represent are not congruent with the goals of my country. Throughout history despots (Chavez) and figureheads (Ahmedinejad), seek first their own advantage and personal validation. Iran seeks hegemony in the Middle East and therefore control over a good deal of Europe’s and southeast Asia’s petroleum supply. Venezuela seeks to dominate the energy market and political landscape of Central and South America. The leaders of these countries have sought self-validation in the spotlight of world attention, and feign courage by daring to insult the Great Satan.

    In fact, this is cheap bravado. If the United States were as evil and expansionist as these tyrants claim, why haven’t we simply assimilated Cuba? Why haven’t we forcefully extracted from oil revenues the cost of our military expedition in Iraq, instead of letting those revenues be used to rebuild infrastructure in Iraq? Why hasn’t the devil George Bush armed Colombia to the teeth and through that surrogate placed guerilla fighters in Venezuela to destabilize the government (wait… isn’t there substantial evidence that the communist Chavez is doing just that with FARC?)

    Seriously, do you see a moral equivalence between Venezuela, Iran and the United States? Will either of those nations do what the United States (and some other countries, notably the U.K.) have consistently done over the past century – namely place their own wealth and the very lives of their citizens at risk to protect and promote the lives and liberty of people in other countries?

  8. ckrcsmith says

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome will go away”

    Book, I wish it could be so, but haven’t you heard the calls to try Bush and Cheney as “war criminals”? That’s all we need to finally reduce this great country to the level of a banana republic.

    I don’t trust Mr. Obama as far as I can throw him. Nevertheless, he is now the president-elect and I pray that he will turn out to be a far better president than I expect, and I wish him well.

    That said, buckle your seatbelts, boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

  9. socratease says

    BDS will go away? I doubt it. If conservatives didn’t exist, the Democrats would invent them. They need *someone* to blame their mistakes on, as all liberals do.

  10. BrianE says

    Ravana
    Your assertion that only expert opinion can refute expert opinion makes no sense. Since the assertion was made that the debt wasn’t inflated and that the fed was raising rates during the war, after lowering them in response to the 2000 recession and 9/11, it should be fairly simple for you, as an expert, to explain the explanation away.

    What I don’t hear much about is the effect of 9/11.

    Stiglitz appears to be the maverick of the economics world, and I have to take with a grain of salt when he mixes economics with politics. One would hope he would stick to economics. Stiglitz is an Obama supporter, and one might question which came first, the thesis or his support for Obama.

    Stiglitz talking about the financial crisis:

    The new “innovations”(derivitives) simply hid the extent of systemic leverage and made the risks less transparent; it is these innovations that have made this collapse so much more dramatic than earlier financial crises. But one needs to push further: Why did the Fed fail?
    First, key regulators like Alan Greenspan didn’t really believe in regulation; when the excesses of the financial system were noted, they called for self-regulation — an oxymoron.
    Second, the macro-economy was in bad shape with the collapse of the tech bubble. The tax cut of 2001 was not designed to stimulate the economy but to give a largesse to the wealthy — the group that had been doing so well over the last quarter-century.
    The coup d’grace was the Iraq War, which contributed to soaring oil prices.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/stiglitz.crisis/index.html

    As to soaring oil prices, which is one of the factors in the meltdown, George Soros, Stiglitz’s benefactor, doesn’t see it the same way. This from June, 2008:

    Speculators are largely responsible for driving crude prices to their peaks in recent weeks and the record oil price now looks like a bubble, George Soros has warned.
    The billionaire investor’s comments came only days after the oil price soared to a record high of $135 a barrel amid speculation that crude could soon be catapulted towards the $200 mark.
    In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Soros said that although the weak dollar, ebbing Middle Eastern supply and record Chinese demand could explain some of the increase in energy prices, the crude oil market had been significantly affected by speculation.
    “Speculation… is increasingly affecting the price,” he said. “The price has this parabolic shape which is characteristic of bubbles,” he said.

    I would also take exception with Stiglitz’s assertion that the tax cut of 2001 was not designed to stimulate the economy.
    “Specifically, the Council of Economic Advisors (CAE) estimates that the provisions of the tax bill added 1.2 percentage points (at an annual rate) to GDP during the last two quarters of 2001 and 0.5 percentage points to GDP during 2002. The CEA estimates were based on the total impact of the tax policy of $57 billion in 2001 and $69 billion in 2002.10 The majority of these amounts are the rebate in 2001 or the impact of new 10 percent bracket in 2002.
    Given that GDP in 2001 was about $10 trillion, the CEA estimates imply that tax policy left GDP about $60 billion higher by the end of 2001 and $112 billion higher by the end of 2002 than it would have been without the tax cut. Mechanically, these numbers imply that the tax cut raised GDP roughly dollar for dollar in the second half of 2001, and with a multiplier substantially above one in 2002.”
    From: DID THE 2001 TAX REBATE STIMULATE SPENDING? EVIDENCE FROM TAXPAYER SURVEYS

  11. Ymarsakar says

    Are you serious? The most expert opinion you found on the internet to counter Nobel Laureate Stiglitz’s expert opinion is a self-executed analysis by some blogger who doesn’t even claim to be an economist? THAT’s your response?

    Very hoity toity of Ravanna, neh.

  12. Mike Devx says

    The Nobel Committee did award the Peace Prize to Al Gore in a recent year, well after global temperatures began cooling in 1998.

    (A cooling trend which is ten years long, now, and which underwent a 0.5 degree C decline in 2007, leaving the globe cooler than at any point in forty years. A trend entirely, completely unpredicted by any human-only global warming model, especially given the massive productivity and economic worldwide expansion driven by the U.S., China, and India over the last twenty years; an expansion halted only within the last year due to the worldwide credit crunch economic catastrophe.)

    Surely this refusal to consider reality in awarding the Peace Prize to Gore refutes any validity that the Nobel Committees might have once had.

    I’d add as to Ravana, that at least he has decided to begin corresponding with some of you! I truly expected that he would only henceforth communicate with Book, as that was his stated desire. Though it did seem odd that he didn’t choose to commence those sole-party interactions with her via private email. (He must at least subconsciously have realized he sought a wider audience for his comments.)

  13. Charles Martel says

    BrianE, bless you for hanging in there and trying to reach Ravana with reason.

    I doubt that he will read your comments with any end other than to insult them or refute them out of hand, but I find them informative and well constructed.

    Mike, it is amazing how much the Nobel Prize has degenerated into a series of cheap shots against democracy and capitalism. I’m not much of an Ayn Rand fan, but her expression ‘the second-raters” sure explains most of Europe and academia these days.

    I think that deep down Al Gore knows his prize is a travesty and that he is being used. The question is how long will the part of him that knows the truth continue to exist before it is completely swallowed up by ego and mendacity?

  14. Ymarsakar says

    It made me realize how critical it is for people to understand that good intentions and soaring rhetoric are not the criteria by which political ideas and movements should be judged. Actual results are what should matter. When they don’t, the harm that caused the initial damage is simply repeated, over and over.

    Deana

    Check out this comment of mine on VC.

    This will be an interesting lesson in human pain thresholds, purple.

    Perhaps with this election, there is a chance for some honest dialogue about things we have not been allowed to discuss in the name of political correctness.-Cassandra

    I tend to think that pain makes for quite a many honest dialogues. It just depends. The Al Anbar tribes, after feeling enough of the pain of the consequences of their choice of friends and allies, eventually started talking to each other, to us, and the Iraqi government.

    Pain is a great way to smooth communications out, for human empathy only works when the pain is personal or close. It doesn’t work if the pain is only on tvs, courts, news programs, or in words. Since human beings naturally have defense mechanisms against feeling pain, painful memories, or other such things, you have to bring the pain past their pain threshold level. The Sunnis had an extremely high pain threshold but it was not infinite. AQ has an even higher pain threshold level due to their being fanatics, but their threshold isn’t infinite either. Humans are still humans.

    www dot villainouscompany dot com/vcblog/

    Cass has some other good posts up pre and post election results.

    One of the classic differences between villains and heroes are that the heroes’ methods are perfectly acceptable when applied against the hero or his enemies. The villains’ methods, however, are only acceptable to the villain when applied against the villain’s enemies. Applied against the villain and suddenly things are no good, purple [Link]. Suddenly the villains must be protected from their own methods even though those methods were justified when used against people like Joe or Sarah.

    That’s how you can detect the difference between ethics and lack of ethics.

  15. Ymarsakar says

    I’d add as to Ravana, that at least he has decided to begin corresponding with some of you! I truly expected that he would only henceforth communicate with Book, as that was his stated desire. Though it did seem odd that he didn’t choose to commence those sole-party interactions with her via private email. (He must at least subconsciously have realized he sought a wider audience for his comments.)

    I personally think the election results put some stiffening in the spines of Leftists that have recently felt very insecure about their place in life. Obama has validated it all for them now, however. Everything will be alright now. They simply must follow orders and Defend the Cause.

  16. Ymarsakar says

    Btw, the scenario purple and I were discussing involved Ayer’s kicking out of a Fox News reporter based on the claim that “it was his private property”. Ayer now believes in private property for himself but not for his enemies, eh?

  17. Mike Devx says

    Charles Martel (#64)
    >> I’m not much of an Ayn Rand fan, but her expression ‘the second-raters” sure explains most of Europe and academia these days. >>

    Interesting that you brought up Ayn Rand. On Monday I decided to begin rereading ‘Atlas Shrugged’. I picked up a copy that had the Leonard Piekoff introduction, which I highly recommend. The intro consists primarily of four excerpts from Ayn Rand’s notes.

    These excerpts clued me into the fact that I’ve been reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’ incorrectly all along: Ms. Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged primarily as an expression of her own perfect ideal of three men and one woman (all but Galt admittedly with critical, deliberate flaws), and to present a view of a World where rationality had been abandoned. She said she wanted to express, and be able to immerse herself, in such an idealized version of reality.

    I’ve been highly critical in the past of the novel because it is *so* hyper-realized, to the point where it has no relation to actual people or events that could occur in reality; that it was essentially a crude cartoon. But knowing what I know now, I’m a hundred pages in, and I find it *immensely* enjoyable and extraordinarily well-written. Once you accept its hyper-realizations, its broadness, as completely deliberate, I think it achieves its goal of providing a broad, deep satisfaction.

    If you take the Obama super-radical past as an indicator of where he and the Democrats intend to take us, the novel also satisfies as a perfect warning of what is to come. It’s positively delicious how well it matches up. (I’m currently in the chapter ‘Climax of the D’Anconias’, which exhibits such delights that I think it must have been Ayn Rand’s favorite chapter that she ever wrote.) I’m going to enjoy the time I spend with the remainder of the novel, though time will be less available as I’m starting a new software project soon…

  18. Mike Devx says

    It also helped that I’d recently begun ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley over the weekend. It is as “ridiculous” in its creation of a hyper-realized world as ‘Atlas Shrugged’, and yet has never come in for the same level of criticism as has ‘Atlas Shrugged’. I recognized the usual double standard immediately upon beginning Atlas Shrugged; and that has helped me completely discard my prior concerns about it.

  19. Charles Martel says

    Mike:

    On another blog several years ago I went under the name “John Galt.” I liked the sound of it, and I had agreed with many of the points Rand had made in “Atlas Shrugged.”

    I agree with you that the book is a “hyper-real” novel of ideas, with characters and situations almost cartoonishly delineated. But, considering how a great cartoonist can clarify by simplifying (Thomas Nast and David Low come to mind), there’s much to be said for that approach.

    So, yes, I think we’re at the point Obama and his enablers are determined to deliver us into a nightmarish peasant world. It’s one where wealth cannot be created but only stolen by capitalists, then rightly expropriated and redistributed by compassionate socialists.

    What bothered me the most about “Atlas Shrugged” was that Rand left out very much discussion of what was going on in hell-holes like Russia or China at the time, and what the cowardly responses from the novel’s “second raters” would have been doing to aid and abet advances in the war against wealth and intelligence. I suppose there was just a sheer limit to the number of important ideas she could address.

    You’re right, “Brave New World” has drawn far less criticism over the years than “Atlas Shrugged.” Maybe that’s because until now it has been the dystopia that has come closest to describing the pit our civilization is sliding into — the profound disrespect for human life (abortion, euthansia, cloning), the degeneration of education (I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars teaching college graduates how to write), the divorce of sex from any end other than pleasure, as well as the mindless pursuit of pleasure.

    But “Brave New World” presupposes a vast, wealthy, self-sustaining economy. With the recent financial debacles, and the ascension of wealth haters into power in the world’s greatest economy, the United States, this may well be the time when “Atlas Shrugged” becomes the dystopia du jour.

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