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08/24/2008

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TM

Neilehat, of course, I find that the most extreme approach is typically the most appropriate and successful. I think we should outsource the role of executive, judicial, and while we're at it, the legislative branches. I think KBR would be an excellent choice -- probably in a no-bid setting as well.

The Enron, Worldcom, etc. theme is tired and absurd. There are dirtbags in the business world just as there are dirtbags in government. Equating business in general with Enron is like equating all of government with Rep. Jefferson, Gov. Spitzer, and Senator Stephens. Actually, now that you have introduced the topic of Enron, I think that the government's reaction to Enron was more destructive than any original malfeasance at Enron. In response to Enron, the DOJ destroyed a firm of 70,000 professionals on a case that was overturned unanimously by the Supreme Court. The legislative response was not much more effective with Sarbox. I think the market would have done a much more effective job of punishing without the unintended consequences and collateral damage of this legislation.

Sen. Larry Craig

I'm hurt that you left me off of your congressional dirtbag list, TM. Got any toilet paper?

Larry

neilehat

Larry, Just one question: "When you live in Idaho, work in D.C., why do you go to Minn-St.Paul of all places to have fun"? Talk about "living in your own private Idaho". ;)

TM, Not withstanding the Supreme Court's decision (and I won't even mention it's oversteping it's bounds in the last election), when was the last time Cal. had a brownout? Perhaps the D.O.J. was right after all.

BTW, what does all this have to do with "Liberalism in Hollywood"? Oh, I know, "Hollywood Liberals" caused the brownout and meltdown of the Cal. Power Grid while in league with the Minutions from Alpha-Centauri so that Arnold could get elected Governor.

Jim

Liberals are generally right-brained and tend to be touchy feely types and that fits most "artists" and people in the "arts". They have their usefulness as conservatives do as well. Too much of one or the other might not be great for public policy but a balance might be.

In terms of governmental efficiency, I suspect that there is a curve somewhere that suggests that there is an optimal size-and-complexity-efficiency ratio. Not to mention that the purpose of our government has been expanding relentlessly since the original congressional federation.
Don't forget that the failure rate of any human machine or organisation is the product of the failure rates of it's individual parts, not the sum.

Jim

Liberals are generally right-brained and tend to be touchy feely types and that fits most "artists" and people in the "arts". They have their usefulness as conservatives do as well. Too much of one or the other might not be great for public policy but a balance might be.

In terms of governmental efficiency, I suspect that there is a curve somewhere that suggests that there is an optimal size-and-complexity-efficiency ratio. Not to mention that the purpose of our government has been expanding relentlessly since the original congressional federation.
Don't forget that the failure rate of any human machine or organisation is the product of the failure rates of it's individual parts, not the sum.

Jack

TM sez: " The general essence of political conservatism is a belief that less government is better than more."

"Conservatives seem to have lost their way and their original principles to the extent that we need different terms for that of ACTUALLY shrinking the government's role and cost and those "conservos??" from Reagan on who've certainly claimed to be conservatives but have gone on the wildest spending sprees imaginable once they acquire power. In our era it seems a choice between the social safety nets of the "left" and socialism for the corporations and sole source scamming of "outsourcing" of the "right"........... in short we'll pay at least as much, and with "conservatives" have to top it off with paying increasingly burdensome interest on the massive D E B T they've built up.

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Larry

Regarding the comments that education leads to liberal views...While it is true that those that are more educated are more likely to be liberal _socially_ (abortion, gay rights etc) they are not more likely to be more liberal economically. Those that are highly educated are split among conventional liberal views and more libertarian-Republican views.

Sen. Larry Craig

Neilehat,

To answer your question: the Twin Cities are the only municipalities to have adopted minimum-width standards for men's room stalls.

As a conservative, I oppose Big Government intrusion into my personal life and support expansive rest room space that simulates the wide open ranges where brave cowboys once roamed and lived manly lives doing manly things.

I treasure my time in those spacious sanctuaries of manliness, thinking manly thoughts. Thinking about cowboys.

Larry

Crucible

I would approach the analysis from a different point of view - I would see what kind of movies are being produced and to what success. Why? Because most action films follow the Roosevelt corollary and portray some rendering of the frontier myth which was exulted greatly in the westerns and actions films such as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Clear and Present Danger. All these films are very conservative in that they follow the Roosevelt corollary inasmuch as the hero must break rules and become like the enemy to overcome the threat only to return to the arms of his woman that our hero may be re-adjusted to society. Clearly, this application of the corollary may be liberal in essence because it breaks with the conservative norms established by the laws. In another point of view, the application of the corollary may be seen as conservative where the barbarians are handled by a righteous individual where no one else did anything or remained scared of the barbaric enemies. However, less of these movies are being made. We see more often action movies where the hero only acts for his benefit or enters some quest that is of individual interest and that he must fight to have his experience (most of which break with any conservative interest). The other movies seem to make fun of conservative interests and expound the need for more liberalism. I would not classify hollywood by census data more than I would by its product - after all, that is what Hollywood is and isn't.

Crucible

I would approach the analysis from a different point of view - I would see what kind of movies are being produced and to what success. Why? Because most action films follow the Roosevelt corollary and portray some rendering of the frontier myth which was exulted greatly in the westerns and actions films such as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Clear and Present Danger. All these films are very conservative in that they follow the Roosevelt corollary inasmuch as the hero must break rules and become like the enemy to overcome the threat only to return to the arms of his woman that our hero may be re-adjusted to society. Clearly, this application of the corollary may be liberal in essence because it breaks with the conservative norms established by the laws. In another point of view, the application of the corollary may be seen as conservative where the barbarians are handled by a righteous individual where no one else did anything or remained scared of the barbaric enemies. However, less of these movies are being made. We see more often action movies where the hero only acts for his benefit or enters some quest that is of individual interest and that he must fight to have his experience (most of which break with any conservative interest). The other movies seem to make fun of conservative interests and expound the need for more liberalism. I would not classify Hollywood by census data more than I would by its product - after all, that is what Hollywood is and isn't.

Jack

Neil sez somewhat tongue in cheek: .......... that's a "make work" project for otherwise unemployable individuals. Which would you rather have, people sitting in offices or out on the streets selling guns and drugs out of a car's trunk in a back alley someplace.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


But you bring up a serious topic. Consider that as our jobs disappear to robotics, offshore or to greater efficiency our per capita productivity goes up, having doubled and more during 25 years when median and lower wages have been flat. That is half and more of our people are not benefiting from the increased overall wealth.

So.............. do we continue post depression "make work" generation of marginally productive jobs? Or do we find ways to quit some of the pretense of having to be "bizzy" all the time, shorten the work week and use other means of distributing the wealth of the nation?

A recent item pointed out that today the top 1% of "earners" have the same amount of income as does the lowest paid 153 million. From a macro approach we may be at the same point as we were in 1929 in which the whole thing stagnates or crashes in part because lower income folk have next to nothing to spend on the products being produced in surplus.

The other reason is that a subtle shift from "job "creation"" to wealth generation would likely conserve precious non-renewable resources and generate more wealth and more wealth (actual) person.

One thing is certain and that our democracy, like that of Mexico, Brazil and others will not work if we continue down the road of haves and have nots. The current system in which the new tech creates wealth that accrues to the small cadre owning the factors of production would seem to continue to leave unneeded workers in the dust while more and more accrues to the MSFTs, GEs, and Walmarts.

Tanner

Hi,I am a chinese student ,and I ma a junior now .As we know ,the Chinese economics made us difficult to find a job. I want you to give to some advice .Thanks.My email is [email protected]
Waiting for your email.

nathan

Why do conservatives claim that conservatives dominate pro-business interests (low taxes, less regulation) and that liberals are bad for business (taxes, regulation)?

Conservatives may be more likely to exclude people than liberals, who may have a more inclusive worldview. Excluded people have to go somewhere, and the process of exclusion may have refined artistic senses. Perhaps you'd see more conservatives wind up in entertainment if more conservatives persecuted and excluded each other in a systematic or subliminal fashion.

Anonymous

Hollywood's liberal roots flow from the sentimental reaction in the early 1800's to the science and quantitative successes of the industrial revolution. "Truth is beauty, beauty truth" was Keat's ode to a sentimental view of the world which bifurcated the world in to liberals and conservatives. Whereas,the rational industrial revolution was based on science and quantitative critical thinking, the rapid economic change wrought havoc to many lives. While quantitatively,the standard of living was increasing dramatically for most, the sentimental reaction was to embrace feeling and reaction to the plight of the poor. Hence,the novel Frankenstein which is very much an anti-science theme. Then came Dickens' Scrooge, an owner of a quantitative house, and the plight of the poor working man and the disabled. These emotional themes are played out still in anti big-business movies from Hollywood. Karl Marx's thinking was heavily influenced by his reaction the perceived excess of people force off farms to make way for sheep to supply wool to the cloth factories. That together with Jewish intellectual affinity with the idea of the collective, he provided an philosophical base for those who react to themes of injustice and social inequality. (That they create the killing fields of communism or the political police states of centrally planned economies in the name of rectifying those problems is to them an enigma and a paradox) Other themes such as the inequality of wealth distribution, prisoners wrongfully imprisioned for fighting the system or anti-war writings that focus on the human element like the Red Badge of Courage found their inspiration in the sentimental vision.
The word liberal also morphed from one that favored free markets and rejected mercantilist policies into one that embraced social causes. The fact that Hollywood sells emotion,and that the politics of the writers and actors are neo-Marxian is not hard to understand. This does not mean that Hollywood cannot produce a patriotic movie like Saving Private Ryan, but the predisposition of the writers is to focus on the emotional heroism of characters. So, the world is now made of two types : those for whom 'what you think determines how you feel', and those for whom 'how you feel determines what you think'. I am over here with the scientists, economists and engineers analyzing the situation, and I feel very strongly about my position.

Chris Graves

After reading Judge Posner’s comments this week, I am puzzled over several of his remarks that seem to make little sense or are left unsupported by evidence. His commentary seems devoid of economic explanation for the decline in popular culture. I shall list some of the passages that I found to be unsupported by logic or evidence. Let’s begin with this one early on:

Posner: “The left end of the political spectrum in this country is still somewhat more respectable than the right end, and so if one finds a class of persons who are drawn to political polarization, more will end up at the far liberal end of the political spectrum than at the far conservative end, yet it will be polarization rather than leftism as such that explains the imbalance.”

My comments: This passage seems to be a mess logically. There are more leftists because artists are drawn to extremes. What about rightists? Why aren’t there comparable numbers of rightists in the arts if the issue is simply that artists tend to extremes ? Polarization in itself does not explain why the left dominates.

Posner: “An ideology attractive to solid bourgeois types is unlikely to be attractive to cultural workers as I have described them. So we should not expect those workers to subscribe to the conventional political values, and apparently a disproportionate number of them do not.”

My comments: Okay, now we have an explanation offered as to why there might be more leftists in the arts (or at least “Hollywood”). I would certainly include a Bohemian lifestyle or a positive take on it as part of the leftist agenda. But this analysis seems to contradict what we read above about rightists being extremists , too. Solid values are part and parcel of the middle of the political spectrum rather than rightist . For example, many of the Romantic poets were conservative (e.g., Coleridge, Burns, German Romantics), but they hardly fit the mold that Judge Posner associates with conservatism. In our times, the 1993 University of Chicago sex survey shows that those on the far left and far right tend to have sex more frequently. Artists before the rise of the radical left in the 18th Century were probably more sexual and idiocyncratic than average people, but they were not leftists or as openly rebellious against traditional morality. We still need an explanation for the leftism and openly Bohemian lifestyles that deliberately flaunt traditional morality that have become more prominent relatively recently.

Let me suggest that while an artistic temperament might delve into the creative and unconscious aspects of the mind accessed via the right hemisphere and interior parts of the brain making artists prone to being more open to experience, their behavior in the past might have been less openly defiant against social norms because prior to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, artists were more heavily subsidized by aristocrats and religious institutions. Not wanting to offend their patrons or having more overt constraints placed on them as the work was commissioned, artists’ work in these earlier times reflected the tastes and values of their patrons. So, we can account for the difference in behavior by considering differences in the constraints artists faced while assuming their preferences remained the same.

Posner: “But if Hollywood based its selection of movies to produce and sell on the political views of the studios' owners and managers, that would be commercial suicide, as competitors would rush in to cater to audiences' desires.”

My comments: This statement makes a number of questionable assumptions. How competitive is the motion picture or television business? What are the start-up costs for a fledgling production company? Mel Gibson has produced a couple of conservative movies that have done very well at the box office. Other conservative Christian movies have done quite well. On television, *Nick at Night* and other cable channels that show older, more traditional televisions shows have done quite well as have channels that show older, more traditional movies. The question is why haven’t others exploited these tastes? Fox News has shown that there is a market for conservatives in network news. This market niche went unmet for decades before Rupert Murdoch challenged the Liberal News Media's oligopoly. There was certainly some kind of barrier to entry into the news business. Could there be similar barriers in the film and television entertainment industries?

Posner: “The idea that Hollywood is a propaganda machine for the Left is not only improbable as theory but empirically unsupported."

My comments: Well, we need a study on how many films and television shows are more traditional and how many are more nihilistic. I would suspect that until the 1970’s there were many more traditional films and television shows that did quite well commercially. My suspicion is that there are many more television shows and movies that challenge traditional norms since 1970. Some have been successful while many have not.

Posner: “If conservatives bought the studios and reinstituted the Hays Code they would soon be out of business. But what is true is that when movie audiences demand vulgar fare, then given that conservatives are more disturbed by vulgarity than liberals are, the film industry becomes less attractive to conservatives as a place to work in. This may be an additional reason for the left-liberal slant of the industry. But as long as the industry is an unregulated competitive industry, market forces will prevent studio heads and owners from trying to impose their own values on audiences, rather than trying to create movies that are in sync with those values.”

My comments: Again, the evidence that we have says otherwise with the success of films that are more traditional or even overtly Christian. Also, again, how competitive is the film industry? Judge Posner here does seem to admit that there might be a dynamic in the film industry that is at work that excludes conservatives . Judge Posner argues in another passage that the bias might have worked in the other direction in previous times. It might be instructive to study how this reversal of fortunes occurred.

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