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TNR continues swirl down the Chait chute

6 Jun

Though well known beauty Jonathan Chait no longer works at TrapNeuterRelease magazine, the current editors continue with his obsessive compulsion to write flawed articles critical of libertarianism.

This week’s entry, by former StarWars extra Jeet Heer (rumored to be playing the young Jabba The Hut in the next release), observes that Rand Paul polls better with Republican men than with Republican women, and from that launches into a discussion of how market liberalism is fatally flawed because it isn’t good for or attractive to women.

Jeet makes a basic logical error in the beginning of his piece. He begins with an observation that out of Republican primary voters, Paul does much better with men than with women. He then leaps to his opinions about women in general and how this relates to broad gaseous notions he imbibed in college about political economy and American history.
Someone capable of investigation and analysis would ask how male and female Republican primary voters differ, since those are the relevant populations. Looking inside the GOP, one might find that male GOP voters are more libertarian and female GOP voters more hawkish, socially conservative, or establishment leaning. Or if instead you look at libertarians of all or no parties, perhaps libertarian leaning voters identified in recent polls and discussed at Brookings, Cato, and the Reason Foundation, as often having certain demographic characteristics (secular, younger, more educated) are more likely to register GOP and vote in GOP primaries when male, and more likely to be non-voters, independents, or even Democrats (or Greens or Libertarian Party voters) when female. We will not find out from Jeet. We didn’t get any analysis, in part perhaps because it was difficult enough for a TNR scribbler to admit that female GOP voters exist, let alone survey what they think.
But Jeet’s real purpose is given away by the photo selection.  It’s funny to see how the TNR photo editor searched for a photo of someone s/he thought would be unappealing standing with Rand Paul.  Outside of the Pauls and academics (some of whom were rather hip and attractive, like Robert Nozick), the best known American men who call themselves libertarians are Himalayan climbing former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, comic leading man Vince Vaughn, and movie star Clint Eastwood — who one suspects have more pulchritude – and testosterone – than decades worth of male TNR staffers.

The photo selection certainly allowed for many TNR on-line readers to signal us their superiority, posting about how libertarian men are beta males, socially awkward, unable to find love, etc. etc.  (Projection?) Does this amount to bullying of this poor unknown individual they chose to belittle by reproducing his photo I imagine without his consent?

Another surprising aspect of the TNR photo selection (and is it true by the way that former TNRer Stephen Glass is now a photo editor at MSNBC, in charge of cropping African American tea partiers’ hands and faces out of stock footage?) is that the guy they’ve chosen immediately made me think of my old friend and loyal Democrat, Todd Metcalf, who bounced around from being a Gore bundler, to a Clyburn staffer, to a Wyden lawyer.

It’s all rather catty from a magazine with a long history of closeted and not closeted gay editors and publishers, possibly rivaling GQ or Details, focusing the attractiveness of male politicians or their male supporters rather than their ideas.

Top pro-Nazi tweets during the Obama shutdown of America

6 Oct
Idea: fortify WWII memorial with tank traps and pillboxes manned by elderly Germans.

Top Shutdown week Libertarian Internet updates

3 Oct
1) Chris Plante on WMAL (tweeted out by BruceMajors4DC)

Barrackaids – blockades used by government to keep taxpayers from using monuments, streets, sidewalks

2) Dead or In Jail| at reader comments

This brings up an interesting question: which book is the essence of 21st Century Progressivism–
Yglesias, Matthew. Micropenis: A personal journey
Chait, Jonathan. The Comprehensive Guide to Masturbation: Guidance on Technique, Propriety, and Endurance.
These two titans present each other with stiff competition indeed.

3)  BruceMajors4DC on twitter
Harry Reid wonders why those damn kids can’t get along with brain tumors, like he has for years     

Netroots Nation: "I see white people."

23 Jun
What’s green, liberal, and white all over?

Maybe Jonathan Chait (Chris Matthews, David Gregory, Hilary Rosen, Jay Carney, Dana Milbanks, Chuck Todd, Eugene Robinson, Andrea Mitchell, Bob Bauer and Anita Dunn…) will feel safe to leave his lily white Chevy Chase neighborhood and cover it?

Jonathan Chait corrects our little blog

20 Jun
Bit dog barks first.”

In today’s column at New York magazine, Jonathan Chait uses a factual error in this blog’s response to his lame attacks on Rand Paul and libertarians to preface his attempt to respond to the more substantial critiques of his smear pieces in The Atlantic and reason magazine.  My teeny hobby is being used by him as a rhetorical device in his response to some of my favorite writers.

I claimed he does not disclose that his wife is an Obama campaign operative.  And apparently she isn’t.  Not exactly anyway.  She was instead an “analyst” at the de facto Obama (and Hillary) campaign shop that pretends to be a think tank, the misnamed Center for American Progress, funded by the multimillionare, crony capitalist, Boomtown gravy train, lobbyist brothers John and Anthony Podesta.  Yawn.  By the way, Ms. Chait’s employer’s Kentucky affiliate, Kentucky Progress, is the group that made racial slurs against Elaine Chao, another Kentucky Senator’s Asian wife.

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS 4/8/08 $250 Obama, Barack (D)
OFF STATE SUP OF EDU/INTERIM DIRECT 3/22/12 $212 Obama, Barack (D)

Additionally Mr. Chait denies being an Obama quisling.  The definition of quisling is

 [ kwízzling ]   

  1. traitor: a traitor, especially somebody who collaborates with an occupying force

And Mr. Chait is a traitor to journalistic ethics in collaboration with an occupying regime that intends to erase the Bill of Rights.
Finally, Mr. Chait is part of a government class that profits off racial injustice and misery, from failed and de facto segregated public schools to the Drug War, while smearing opponents who do not support their failed statist model of so called “civil rights” and its formula for factional strife over a shrinking pie of welfare benefits.  A failed model of civil rights Americans are rejecting in recent polls, where they both favor gay marriage and oppose affirmative action.  Mr. Chait is not imaginative enough to comprehend any ways of dealing with bigotry in a multicultural society other than his old and failed statist formulae, so he smears.

The Chaits, like almost all DC leftover media and political class members, live in a lily white neighborhood, Chevy Chase, on Nevada Avenue, in an otherwise black city.  It’s what economists call demonstrated preference – meaning you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

Note well Chait’s overall thesis:  Rand Paul is anti democracy; people like him with wrong ideas should be disenfranchised.

Here’s Chait’s column:

My item on Rand Paul the other day, predictably, went over quite badly in the libertarian community. The Insomniac Libertarian, in an itemwonderfully headlined “Obama Quisling Jonathan Chait Smears Rand Paul,” complains that my Paul piece “never discloses that [my] wife is an Obama campaign operative.” A brief annotated response:
1. I question the relevance of the charge, since Rand Paul is not running against Obama.
2. In point of fact, my wife is not an Obama campaign operative and has never worked for Obama’s campaign, or his administration, or volunteered for his campaign, or any campaign, and does not work in politics at all.
3. I question the headline labeling me an “Obama quisling,” a construction that implies that I have betrayed Obama, which seems to be the opposite of the Insomniac Libertarian’s meaning.
4. For reasons implied by points one through three, I urge the Insomniac Libertarian to familiarize himself with some of the science linking sleep deprivation to impaired brain function.
A more substantive, though still puzzling, retort comes from the Atlantic’sConor Friedersdorf, a frequent bête noire of mine on subjects relating to Ayn Rand and Ron or Rand Paul. Friedersdorf raises two objections to my piece, which traced Rand Paul’s odd admission that he is “not a firm believer in democracy” to his advocacy of Randian thought. Friedersdorf first charges that the intellectual connection between Paul and Rand is sheer paranoia:
Chait takes the quote and turns it into a conspiracy … As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of Chait as a left-leaning analog to the character in Bob Dylan’s “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues.” Those Objectivists were coming around/They were in the air / They were on the Ground/ They wouldn’t give me no peace. For two thousand years, critics of unmediated democracy have warned about the masses abusing individuals and minorities. The American system was built from the very beginning to check democratic excesses.
But if Rand Paul distrusts democracy he must’ve gotten it from Ayn Rand. 
A conspiracy? Am I imagining that Rand Paul has been deeply influenced by Ayn Rand? Paul himself has discussed the deep influence her work had on his own thinking. In college he wrote a series of letters and columns either quoting Rand or knocking off her theories. He used a congressional hearing to describeone of her novels at tedious length. How is this a conspiracy?
Friedersdorf proceeds to argue that Rand is not really very militant anyway:
It’s also interesting that Chait regards Rand’s formulation as “militant.” Let’s look at it again. “I do not believe that a majority can vote a man’s life, or property, or freedom away from him.” Does Chait believe that a democratic majority should be able to vote a man’s life or freedom away? …
In the political press, it happens again and again: libertarian leaning folks are portrayed as if they’re radical, extremist ideologues, even when they’re expressing ideas that are widely held by Americans across the political spectrum.
Well, here we come to a deeper disagreement about Ayn Rand. My view of her work is pretty well summarized in a review-essay I wrote in 2009, tying together two new biographies of Rand with some of the Randian strains that were gaining new currency in the GOP. My agenda here is not remotely hidden, but maybe I need to put more cards on the table. I’ve described her worldview as inverted Marxism — a conception of politics as a fundamental struggle between a producer class and a parasite class.
What I really mean is, I find Rand evil. Friedersdorf’s view is certainly far more nuanced and considerably more positive than mine. He’s a nice, intelligent person and a good writer, but we’re not going to agree on this.
Friedersdorf waves away Rand’s (and Rand Paul’s) distrust of democracy as the same fears everybody has about democracy. Well, no. Lots of us consider democracy imperfect or vulnerable, but most of us are very firm believers in democracy. Rand viewed the average person with undisguised contempt, and her theories pointed clearly in the direction of cruelty in the pursuit of its fanatical analysis. A seminal scene in Atlas Shrugged described the ideological errors of a series of characters leading up to their violent deaths, epitomizing the fanatical class warfare hatred it’s embodied and which inspired Whitaker Chambers to observe, “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To the gas chambers — go!’”
Randism has never been tried as the governing philosophy of a country, so it remains conjecture that her theories would inevitably lead to repression if put into practice at a national level. But we do have a record of the extreme repression with which she ran her own cult, which at its height was a kind of totalitarian ministate. You can read her biographies, or at least my review, to get a sense of the mind-blowing repression, abuse, and corruption with which she terrorized her followers.
But the upshot is that I strongly dispute Friedersdorf’s premise that Rand’s theories are a variant of democracy, any more than Marx’s are. In fact, I find the existence of powerful elected officials who praise her theories every bit as disturbing to contemplate as elected officials who praise Marxism. Even if you take care to note some doctrinal differences with Rand, in my view we are talking about a demented, hateful cult leader and intellectual fraud. People who think she had a lot of really good ideas should not be anywhere near power.

Newlyweds Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman and the Freedom to Carry

22 Dec
McArdle Wins Worst Newtown Reaction Award

Megan McArdle, a DC libertarian writer (and wife of reason magazine editor Peter Suderman) provides a target for leftover Jonathan Chait’s continuing jihad against all things libertarian.  (Perhaps New York magazine should actually have disclosed that Chait is regularly sliced and diced in the pages of his subject’s husband’s magazine.)

There isn’t actually anything unlibertarian about gun control as long as the control is not the government disarming the citizens so it could more easily abuse them. Any libertarian will say that a shopping mall, or condo association, or homeowner, can tell you you can’t bring this or that weapon into her property. 

The problem is that government owns the streets, parks, subyways, buses, schools, airports, etc. and does a lousy job of keeping armed lunatics, and for that matter, litter bugs, rapists, mosquitos and rats, mashers, flashers, gangs, marching Nazis, and the Westboro Baptist Church, from committing crimes or just being nuisances, on public property. The solution would be to have all these things owned and run privately whether by downtown business district associations, the Nature Conservancy, or for profit companies. They would implement policies that respond to consumer demand and hazard insurance risk assessments, and would control guns on their own property while not forbidding one to have one in one’s own home (or at least if so only by condo bylaws one would choose to buy into or not.)

New Republic caught fabricating again, this time re Ron Paul newsletters

6 Jan
So now it turns out that Jonathan Chait, Jamie Kirchik and the New Republic, who have maintained that Ron Paul’s newsletters had no one elses’ byline, have been misleading.  There was a byline from an author who is not Ron Paul