Managed Ignorance Watch, Continued

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Week One: CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT OBAMA ACTUALLY SAT IN REVEREND WRIGHT’S CHURCH FOR YEARS AND YEARS????

    Week Two: Ah, I don’t know what religion he is…Report

  2. So many of these polls have turned out to be rigged, I’d be cautious putting much faith into it. You’ll probably get a better feel by simply asking people you meet over a period of time, in casual conversation, if they think Obama is a mooslim. It doesn’t pass the sniff test. If you want a conspiracy theory, a better one is that the liberal media is trying to distract attention away from a sinking economy and very, very high unemployment.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer, A vast conspiracy that enfolds all the mainstream and liberal media and the conservative media is just playing along Mike? Seems far fetched.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer, to be sure, if I got a robophone poll asking me if Obama was the host for Hitler’s brain, please press 1, I don’t know that I’d have the willpower to press 2.Report

    • Avatar Simon K in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer, Heh. If I did that I’d concluded that there are only 2 Republicans in the entire United States and that elections that return Republicans have been rigged. The sample is skewed – up to a point I’ll trust a poll from a reputable pollster over what my acquaintances tell me.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Simon K says:

        @Simon K,
        You also, obviously, don’t understand the concept of “tweaking” — if some pollster called me and asked these stupid questions, I’d probably say — Yes, he’s a mooslim, I mean, look at his name! He’s also a communist and a metrosexual!

        This is just a ploy to divert attention, and it will get worse before the election and unbearable before 2012. The media can try to paint the public as a bunch of dolts if they want to, but the media are the ones becoming irrelevant and whiningly insignificant.Report

        • Avatar Simon K in reply to Mike Farmer says:

          @Mike Farmer, So you’re saying that 40-odd percent of the American public don’t give honest answers when asked stupid questions by pollsters? It seems kind of unlikely to me to be honest.

          Unfortunately I do know one perfectly smart person who does pay attention who thinks there are “legitimate questions” about Obama’s religion and birth that he hasn’t answered. Its nothing to do with being stupid – its got a lot to do with listening to right-wing echo-chamber conspiracy theorists who peddle this stuff and mainstream media whose idea of “objectivity” is not to say “look, this is stupid” when faced with something obviously stupid.Report

  3. If you polled Democrats you’d get 99.9% who say the current economic crisis is Bush’s fault, and that Obama’s stimulus plan prevented a Great Depression by saving or creating 2 to 3 million jobs, and that we are going in the right direction to turn around Bush’s disaster. Now, THAT’S ignorance! Thinking Obama is very sympathetic to Islam is not a stretch, and I imagine that’s where these poll numbers are coming from.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer,
      Yes, disagreeing with the Great Mike Farmer on economic issues is a sure sign of ignorance as there is no room for debate at all.

      I mean it is exactly like believing in provably false and crazy conspiracy theories.Report

      • @ThatPirateGuy,
        Thank Allah, someone here finally gets it!

        Actually it’s not my ideas, but rather the facts involved. To continue saying Bush is at fault is ignorance — not because I say so, but because it’s ignorant. The Democrats voted for Bush’s policies, and besides, on one person has hat much power, not even a president — although they are close to God. Plus, The Democrats have had the economy for 18 months and things are getting worse. If we want to find fault, let’s put it where it belongs — statism.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer says:

          @Mike Farmer, Mike, sure the Democrats have been in control for 18 months. But ya know there was stuff happening before then that may, perhaps, maybe have significant long reaching impact on the nation’s financed in this real world of facts that you seem to exclusively have a grasp of.

          You know, stuff like massive unfunded entitlement increases, huge unfunded wars, years of deficit spending during times of economic prosperity, any of this ringing a bell? And this, all of course, by the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility.
          Sure the Dems haven’t done anything stellar. Obama’s fiscal policy? Personally I’m not a fan. But at least they’ve identified funding measures for their spending as opposed to just pitching it into general funds like their predecessors did. You claim that you’re indifferent to party but it’s odd how your powder and fire is always reserved only for left wing endeavors and administrations. I hesitate to ask but do you think the GOP is the last best hope for America’s economic future?Report

          • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to North says:

            @North,
            Goodness, North, did you not understand anything I wrote. You’ve reacted as a partisan, blind to what I was trying to say — let me put it another way — STATISM is the problem, and Bush nor Obama invented it — we’ve been heading in a statist direction for decades. I merely said that Democrats should accept their part of the blame — that’s all — because they have accelerated the movement — I’m not defending Republican statism and I don’t how you could get that from what I wrote.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Farmer says:

              @Mike Farmer, C’mon NOrthie, it’s hard to be critical of the old Party..isn’t it?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer says:

              @Mike Farmer, Oh I get the statist part Mike, I just was confused. Your criticisms do seem to have a partisan note to them since you seem to implicitly excuse the GOP from responsibility. After your bald assertion that the current administration alone was responsible for the entire fiscal morass of the country I thought I’d give you an opportunity to peddle that back a bit and expand your indictment to include the full spectrum of the politicians, partisans and philosophies responsible.

              Bob, I can be fondly critical of Grand ol Partisans like you my friend so it’s very easy for me to be critical of the Grand ol Party itself. Especially since the GOP isn’t as witty and personable as you are (nor does it have a charitable and kind wife).Report

            • @Mike Farmer,
              Actually, this is a teachable moment. Our gravest problem is the inability to take responsibility for the mess we’re in. Everyone is basically at fault — the public ran up debt and acted as if the government goodies were free and that someone else was paying the bill, and they elected the thiefs who’ve raided the productive members of society and given wealth away to gain a power base. Now, people are losing their jobs because businesses have been milked one too many times. Until everybody toughens up and admits we’ve screwed the pooch, nothing will change and we’ll run America into the ground. All this talk about legislation and governing smartly and social justice and safety net for the poor — it’s all a big scam and we’ve been taken — the politicans live like kings, while my business I worked to build up has to eat shit sandwiches until the market is free again and people trust that government won’t intervene like a gang of criminals. You can stuff your theories of benevolent government — it’s never worked. Just like Rome, we seem to be intent on destroying ourselves. There, now I feel better. Have a good day.Report

            • @Mike Farmer,
              “After your bald assertion that the current administration alone was responsible for the entire fiscal morass of the country I thought I’d give you an opportunity to peddle that back a bit and expand your indictment to include the full spectrum of the politicians, partisans and philosophies responsible. ”

              What are you smoking — what frigging assertion did I make? You didn’t read very well, and I didn’t peddle back — I explained once again — to be honest this is about the fifth time I’ve had to explain my position to you. I simply won’t be a part of blaming Bush for everything — that doesn’t mean I support him — he has nothing to do with the problem I have with liberal dishonesty. You can’t deflect criticism from the liberals by yelling BUSH over and over.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Farmer says:

              @Mike Farmer, Thanks NOrthie, you’re way too kind.
              Mike, that was great stuff dude. I do feel your pain. Hang in there, don’t give up, and we’ll get America back from these ‘fellow travellers.’
              “Victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever,” join with me….!Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Mike Farmer says:

              @Mike Farmer, I’m never going to claim that the liberals haven’t contributed to the situation Mike, and so long as you agree that the GOP have an commensurate share in the current mess then we don’t have any disagreement on the subject.

              And yes, since the voters put all the assorted clowns into office and make the buying and economic decisions in the country I heartily agree that it’s all of our mess. Deep breaths old boy.Report

            • @Mike Farmer,
              How any times do I have to state my objection to statism from the right and left? I’m breathing fine, Old Girl — not upset, just passionate about what I believe. I’ve heard enough luke-warm gobbledygook for a lifetime. But that’s a good touch to make your opponent appear out of sorts — it puts you in a calm, reasonable position as opposed to a hard-breathing lunatic. I like it.Report

  4. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Hubris becomes you, Jason.
    His Magnificence is neither a Christian nor a Moooosluum. Well, he’s a Muslim in the sense his alcoholic father was one. Rather, Barry is an excellent example of a man, the modern man, who fails to recognize that the tension of existence is the human condition and lives accordingly, and yes, he is a threat to the nation.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus says:

    Yeah, it’s a toss up. When I visit liberal blogs, I either hear grandiose conspiracy theories about the Christian right readying a fascist government, invective of those ignorant bigots who express any opinions that would be out of place in Mother Jones, or optimistic, but equally delusional, nonsense about the Obama-led economic recovery being right around the corner. Maybe the difference between liberals and progressives is right there in the distinction between optimistic and pessimistic claptrap. I tend towards pessimism, but I’m not worried about the fascist takeover.

    Conversely, I don’t think all conservatives are conspiracy theorists. I just think it would be a lot easier to see eye-to-eye with many of them I encounter if I either believed the world’s Muslims are all duplicitous terrorists planning to install sharia law worldwide (any day now),or the Obama administration is made up of duplicitous clandestine Marxists preparing to abolish private property (any day now), or thousands of scientists in several fields around the world made up global warming to take away our cars.

    So, yeah, not absentee voting any time soon.Report

  6. “I just think it would be a lot easier to see eye-to-eye with many of them I encounter if I either believed the world’s Muslims are all duplicitous terrorists planning to install sharia law worldwide (any day now),or the Obama administration is made up of duplicitous clandestine Marxists preparing to abolish private property (any day now), or thousands of scientists in several fields around the world made up global warming to take away our cars.”

    Creating a cartoon version of these concerns doesn’t make he concerns less valid. Everyone should be concerned about Islam as politics, just as we were concerned when Christian fundamentalists became too influential through Jerry Falwell — and, Obama has surrouned himself with people who are unfriendly to a free market and private property and promote social engineering — and the global climate change fanatics could institute policies which literally cripple our economy and make it impossible to compete in the global economy — these are very real concerns, and the modern libral had better start addressing them if he/she wants to be relevant and not just a patsy for statists, environmental radicals and those promoting religious/political laws for communities in the West.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer,

      By cartoonish do you mean accurate? Because you just flipped out over climate change in the same post where you dinged Rufus for finding that kind of crazy silly.

      Look, I don’t expect much from you, you think Ayn Rand writes good books with non-crazy ideas. That is a pretty solid indicator of someone with a poor grasp of reality and taste in literature.Report

    • Avatar Rufus in reply to Mike Farmer says:

      @Mike Farmer, Mike I didn’t “create a cartoon version” of those arguments- I repeated verbatim statements that I have heard dozens of times from right wing friends, blogs and talk shows. Do I need to prove that there are right wingers who believe the administration is composed of closet Marxists, Muslims are uniformly sympathetic to terrorism and threaten to instill sharia law in the US, or the global warming theory is a transparently ridiculous fraud perpetuated on the public by dishonest scientists? All of those ideas, which are expressed openly and not infrequently, are conspiracy theories, by definition. You can say it’s not fair to hold them up as representative, and okay maybe it’s not. But it’s not as if I invented them.

      Secondly, when you express the ‘valid concerns’ supposedly underlying them, you sound more reasonable, but you also change the subject in some cases. Saying that the theory of global warming is a fraud perpetuated by radicals, again something I’ve heard said dozens of times, is not at all the same thing as saying that the legislation people have proposed to deal with the effects of global warming will hurt the economy. Similarly, saying that the economic views of members of the administration are ultimately bad for free enterprise is not at all the same thing as saying that they’re closet Marxists hoping to sabotage the economy. In both cases, the first argument (yours) is reasonable, while the second is essentially stupid bullshit. What I’m saying is that I can’t see eye-to-eye with the people who openly express the stupid bullshit to me based on the hope that it might just be their less-articulate way of expressing totally different opinions.

      Look, even if we rephrase it as eloquently as possible, there are still people on the right, and not a small number of them, who believe that the administration is intentionally trying to sabotage the economy because they’re hostile to capitalism, that the 0.7% of the population that is Muslim are sympathetic to terrorists and pose a legitimate threat of subverting the institutions and norms of the country, and the global warming theory is transparent nonsense that only “zealots” would find convincing. I have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye with those arguments because they still strike me as really stupid bullshit. And as long as I keep encountering so many conservatives who express at least one of them to me, it’s going to be hard for me to sign up for their newsletters.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Rufus says:

        @Rufus,
        “Saying that the theory of global warming is a fraud perpetuated by radicals”

        A cartoon version of what I said.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Mike Farmer says:

          @Mike Farmer, No Mike- I said that your opinion is that the legislation that has been proposed to “fight” global warming is ill-considered and would do great harm to economic growth, which I said I think is a totally reasonable opinion, but it’s not the same case that other people are making.

          Oh! Okay- I see what was wrong there! I was trying to say that your opinion, the reasonable one, was the second one there- so just reverse the order. The point is I take you to be saying that the legislation proposed is wrongheaded and bad for economic growth. Isn’t that what you’re saying?Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Rufus says:

        @Rufus,
        Rufus,

        You can always find people who express themselves in radical ways, on the left and right, but to concentrate on their inability to be nuanced is to take focus off the underlying concerns which are very real. It seems to me that the statist direction in which we are headed, and the knee-jerk reactions from anti-capitalist environmentalists, and the irrational ideas of religions which want political power are much more important to tackle. If we’re going to throw the ideas out with the radicals, we’ll have to throw both left and right out and start over. I believe the whole world is distracted by symptoms and hardly anyone is trying to tackle fundamental problems with fundamental solutions.Report

  7. Avatar 62across says:

    Mike – I’m glad to know this is a teachable moment, because I have a couple of questions about this:

    “Until everybody toughens up and admits we’ve screwed the pooch, nothing will change and we’ll run America into the ground. All this talk about legislation and governing smartly and social justice and safety net for the poor — it’s all a big scam and we’ve been taken — the politicans live like kings, while my business I worked to build up has to eat shit sandwiches until the market is free again and people trust that government won’t intervene like a gang of criminals.”

    First, how is saying everybody is to blame any more helpful than saying the air is to blame? In what way is this view even remotely actionable?

    Second, if you wish for the markets to be free again, I presume at one time truly free markets once existed. When exactly was this? How, then, do we make the economy more like it was at that time?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to 62across says:

      @62across, doesn’t have to be “again”.

      It can be a vector.

      Has the vector been moving in a particular direction?

      If so, is it really so nutty to believe that someone might think it’s the wrong one?Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, I didn’t reference “again”, Mike did. And the reason I asked about this time of free markets was in order to have some coordinates by which to set course by. If the circumstances of this earlier time can be recreated, then great, let’s talk about how we can get there. If they can’t be recreated (or they were never there in the first place) then how we choose a particular direction is altogether different.

        I’m not saying it is nutty to claim we are going in the wrong direction. I’m only questioning how one can expect anyone to follow them when they only know generally where the destination is and they have no map showing how to get there.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to 62across says:

      @62across,
      Read Alexander Rustow’s Freedom and Domination. In America the late 19th century was probably the free-est the market has been, but it has flutuated and has dome much better during times when it’s most free, just like the Greek and Roman periods — more peaceful, more prosperous, creative, innovative, etc — a free market now would be something very different, given technology and what we’ve learned, and with our experience with charity — it could likely be another period of enlightenment — we need one.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Mike Farmer says:

        @Mike Farmer, Freest for the white male seller, perhaps. For women, freed slaves, lower class laborers and purchasers of food, drugs, and medical services, among many others, not so much.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike Farmer says:

        @Mike Farmer, that’s the crux of it, isn’t it?

        Given current technology and a global economy, a free market WOULD be something very different now. You’re on a computer on, so I’m assuming you’re not calling for some Luddite return to an agrarian economy with no middle class. How would you mitigate the inherent advantage given to large multi-national companies from existing infrastructure like the Internet, cheap global telecommication and interstates? Do you favor more localized economies? How would you level the playing field, so a Mom and Pop shop can compete with massive box-stores on price?

        You say remove the state and it could “likely” lead to a period of enlightenment. I think it could just as likely lead to a period of (greater) corporate plutarchy.

        Tell me how your outcome is more assured.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to 62across says:

          @62across,
          Without government protection, fee competition would bring down a lot of large companies — the people who started the technology revolution which led to me using this computer were not part of a large multi-national corporations. From experience with large companies and with small nimble operations, I conclude small and nimble will knock over the Goliaths. But one thing is assured — government control, central planning and social engineering will kill the nation. History is own my side — there’s plnty of evidence — as I said, read Rustow for a starter. History teaches these things if you will be open to learning. The time has never been more ripe for a free market and responsible cooperation with social problems. We’ve evolved to a point we can do things no other time could accomplish. History has led us to this point, but I don’t know if we have the courage to answer the call.Report

          • @Mike Farmer,

            excuse the typos — on, not own, and the othersReport

          • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike Farmer says:

            @Mike Farmer, you are certifiably naive. Fee competition, seriously?

            History is on your side, if at all, only if you ignore the last 100 years or so.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to 62across says:

              @62across,
              Yep, I’ve been called a naive fool. I’m naive enough to believe in terms of history, 100 years is a bad hair day.Report

            • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to 62across says:

              @62across,
              BTW, that was supposed to be free competition, not fee competition.Report

            • Avatar 62across in reply to 62across says:

              @62across, free competition makes somewhat more sense, but it doesn’t change anything about your argument.

              With “free competition” and “small and nimble will knock over Goliath”, you’re suggesting what will happen when there is a free market. Fine. I AGREE there is validity in the theories of what could happen in a truly free market and some historical precedent for quasi-free markets.

              What you so willfully ignore is how to get such a free market in place from where we are as a country now. I hope it is clear that Our Current Economy minus Our Current State does NOT equal Free Market. (If that is not clear, there is no point debating with you.) The best glimpse of your plan that I can gather from your comments here is as follows:
              Step 1: Enough of The People “gather the courage to answer the call” and the State is greatly limited or removed.
              Step 2: Something else mysterious happens.
              Step 3: A free market exists and delivers on its promise.

              Step 1, while highly unlikely, is still plausible. Step 3 will not flow naturally from Step 1 without some design and is therefore an impossibility without some kind of Step 2. Step 2 is nothing but underpants gnomes.

              Start dealing with Step 2. Otherwise, the free market rhetoric is meaningless.Report

  8. Avatar CJ Fogel says:

    The last 20 or so years of misrepresentations, opportunistic invective and filthy lying by those who would like to see our government reduced to its military and intelligence arms are coming home to roost. They’ve created an environment in which it’s quite acceptable to use poisonous methods to achieve your goals. And I might add, that the methods wouldn’t work if their base wasn’t so damn stupid. It doesn’t surprise me that a third of the GOP thinks Obama is a muslim. Look at the high percentage of that benighted group that voted for Bush.Report

  9. Avatar LoachDriver says:

    Wonder how all these smug self-righteous Lefties account for the fact that Obama’s caught on video tape declaring during an interview on ABC “My Muslim faith?” Either he lied by falsely claiming he’s Muslim, or he told the truth. Which is it, folks? With my own blue eyes I watched & heard him say of himself, “My Muslim faith.” The interview’s bookmarked on my machine for verification any time I doubt my memory.

    Yes, he’s a snarky lawyer who is, like chicken Willie, adept at redefining the meaning of the word “is.” Nor did he have sex with that woman, eh?Report

    • Avatar CJ Fogel in reply to LoachDriver says:

      @LoachDriver, Wow. You base your claim that Obama is a Muslim on an, at best, ambiguous three second clip that is most plausibly a misstatement shows how deeply you are invested in the feverish an unjustified anger toward Obama. You saw with your blue eyes Obama say “my Muslim faith” but the rest of your frightened white brain couldn’t process that it was a fumble rather than a sign of the vast conspiracy that leads back, back, back to that old goat, Clinton or maybe even to Lucifer. You guys are so idiotic it’s funny.Report

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