One of the more curious rhetorical ploys of American right-wing thought is what you might call “the
It’s not clear to me just how long this has been going on. Certainly to the early days of the Cold War; perhaps all the way to the first publication of Marquis Childs’ seminal Sweden: The Middle Way in 1936 (look here). Childs was “moderate” in the classic sense of the term: temperate, skeptical, curious, hospitable to the unexpected. It’s not a pose that sits well with terrible simplificateurs, and so it seems to have prompted an ever-renewing determination to prove that the Swedes are slatternly, suicidal, promioscuous (and crypto-Nazi to boot).
[An interesting but not particularly simplistic instance of the genre can be found here.]
A remarkable new instance emerges from, unsurprisingly, TCS Daily, the talking-shop of James K. (Dow 36,000) Glassman and his crew. The TCS money shot is this: forget about the rich getting richer. The data shows that the poor in
But TCS is not content to let the numbers speak for themselves. No:
If we accept (as I do) that we do, indeed, need to have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered. The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like
The internet still makes my head spin. The TCS piece is dated August 28. The same day, we have one of the authors of the study in question (Max Sawicky), here, responding that “this [analysis] should take an Olympic gold medal for missing the point” (think of Marshall McCluhan, coming to the aid of Woody Allen in Annie Hall). Point being that TCS has simply assumed away the issue of social services, dealt with at length in the original study. Look here to see Matt Yglesias explaining Sawicky, better than Sawicky explains himself.
This is all good fun, but my question persists: why
 Actually, these days maybe it is Hans Blix. Tis said that one reason the Bush admin wouldn’t go along with the weapons inspectors is that Rove is Norwegian and thought that Rove, a Swede, could not be trusted.