May 2012

The special snowflake principle is the same principle of hope and dream that causes people to start restaurants and other small businesses, or to play the lottery. On the average it’s a gift from hopeful people to shrewd people, and it is one of the driving forces of American life.

On the other side, this hopeful principle is counterbalanced by the complacent normalization principle, which says that it’s reasonable to plan on the basis of the average outcome and to ignore the outliers and long tails. The normalization principle is the ruling principle of our triumphant Democratic Party.

When entrepreneurs and high-stakes gamblers guess right on an exception, they can change the game permanently.

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

“I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

“Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold them”



(A response to Brad DeLong’s lament about the feckless “moderate Republicans”, who may exist, but will never oppose the Republican Party).

Conservatives generally have always been willing to support the worst demagogues if that’s what’s needed. Hitler got a lot of support from people who despised him.

In the post mortem on the Late Great USA one chapter will be “Liberals Never Knew What Hit Them”. It’s a war, not a debate or an argument or a discussion or a negotiation. And the other side is organized and disciplined, and our side is wandering around in circles sucking their fingers.

“Organized”: actually, it’s a conspiracy but that word can’t be used. Hillary was right in every way. Many many players do not acknowledge which side they are on, but instead pretend to be thoughtful, concerned citizens and neutral professionals. Many flatly lie about their commitments and associations. Millions of dollars change hands.

Liberals have been screaming “conspiracy theory” for so long that they can’t recognize a conspiracy even when it’s killing them. (Yes, children, the reason why the English language includes the word “conspiracy” is because conspiracies do exist in this world, and right here in the US, too! — not just in Foreign wog lands, or in the evil Caliphate.)

Another reason that liberals won’t talk about conspiracy is that if you ever use that evil word,  you’re confessing that you’re an outsider, and liberals identify as insiders. Liberals are cool technocrats who calmly explain things to other, lesser people and help keep the lid on things that way —  not alarmists who are capable of noticing when they’ve lost almost everything.

Here’s neutral Wiki smearing Hillary as a conspiracy theorist:

“Vast right-wing conspiracy” was a conspiracy theory advanced by then First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1998 in defense of her husband, President Bill Clinton, and his administration during the Lewinsky scandal, characterizing the Lewinsky charges as the latest in a long, organized, collaborative series of charges by Clinton’s political enemies… After the Starr investigation revealed the Lewinsky affair, and precipitated a deposition wherein it was suggested that Bill Clinton may have committed perjury, some conservatives began to mock the VRWC phrase. The term ‘Vast Right Wing Conspiracy’ continues to be used only for tongue-in-cheek satire.[

But there WAS and still IS a vast rightwing conspiracy. The anti-Clinton conspiracy was documented by Lyons, Conason, Brock, and others. And even though Hillary is a model (centrist) liberal, she used the c-word and had to be punished. Bad Hillary!

Liberals and centrists need to figure out* that a significant conservative block WANTS pain and WANTS inequality and thinks that they are intrinsically good, godly, natural things and that without them the world is a worse place.

And that they are willing to harm the economy and even reduce their own absolute wealth in order to get the pain and inequality they want. (Though they plan to increase their relative wealth). After 1900 some Southern leaders knew that the steps they were taking to protect white supremacy came at the cost of continued underdevelopment, and they supported white supremacy anyway.

Beyond that, liberals and moderates need to know that some conservatives are long shot gamblers, not utility maximizers, and that they are willing to take big, rationally unjustifiable chances. Dick Cheney is a recent example. The Hunt Brothers trying to corner the precious metals market is a historic example.

*Figure of speech here. They won’t figure it out.