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How liberals argue

Arnold Kling of the Bottom Line (one of the Corante blogs) has blogged about an email exchange with one of the ‘intellectuals’ over at Crooked Timber. He suggested that they actually read one of his essays before denouncing them as illegitimate. The reply he received was incredible. I suppose that is how liberals argue…

Arthur Kling (AK): Thanks for the comment. I am in favor of providing health care subsidies for the poor. What I object to is the notion that a middle class that supposedly cannot afford to pay for health insurance on its own can somehow magically tax itself to pay for health insurance.

Crooked Timber ‘intellectual’ (CTI): Tax the upper class. Why don’t they figure into your calculations? Are your usual readers stupid enough to be swayed by such foolishness? Do you really think “big government liberals” believe what you claim they do? (I suspect that you do: your imagined opponents are all idiots who can’t appreciate your impeccable logic.)

How about establishing a government health insurance system to eliminate the 30% overhead that “entrepreneurs” typically extract? Despite libertarian cant about government inefficiency, government insurance programs get by with less than 3% administrative costs. Seems that might make health care a bit more affordable. (I know that fact will be hard to accept, since it contradicts the dogma you adhere to, but it’s a hard world.)

AK: Sorry that the point was unclear.

CTI: It was indeed. Are you sure the obfuscation was unintended?

AK: Thanks for taking the time to read the essay.

CTI: You’re welcome. Wish I felt it had been better spent.

There is more rudeness, arrogance and supercilious invectives. Judge for yourselves.

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18 comments to How liberals argue

  • Did you really expect any better; it’s the same kind of “thought process” that bespeaks rudeness as well as lack of logic.

  • BigFire

    I’m surprise there have been louder call for Soviet style Collectivisation and Mass Liquidation of the wealthy. Afterall, it worked so well in that worker’s paradise and at the bargin rate of only 30 million ungratefull peasants.

  • BigFire

    Preview is your friend. The above should’ve read:

    I’m surprise there haven’t been louder call for Soviet style Collectivisation and Mass Liquidation of the wealthy. Afterall, it worked so well in that worker’s paradise and at the bargin rate of only 30 million ungratefull peasants.

  • Shawn

    In the two years since I took to a number of internet forums to defend the United States after 911 and to argue for support of the war against Islamic terrorism this kind of arrogant and abusive rhetoric from leftists has been the norm.

    And I have noticed that it gets worse in proportion to the reasonableness and rationality of one’s own argument. The more I worked to stay polite in the face of abuse, and the more I worked to argue my case with reason and evidence, the more hysterical and abusive many leftists became.

    In one cae, I suggested to an individual that while President Bush was not my ideal Pres, I still thought he was an honest and decent man and the best option on offer as far as prosecuting the war goes. The response I got back was largely unreadable. In between bouts of name calling (I was fascinated to learn that I was both an “Israel First” Likudite and a Nazi, an interesting combination) and swearing, were long sentences that had been written in such rage that that I literally could not decipher them.

    I assumed that perhaps this was just a reaction to the naturaly hightened state of feeling that war brings out in people, until I discovered that I got the same response when discussing issues of economics and welfarism.

    That these people want to run the world seriously scares me.

  • Jorhe

    I like how the “liberal” keeps mentioning the “30% overhead” (I assume he’s referring to profits). I’m sure he wouldn’t have been emphasizing that as much if they were discussing his salary, and how he probably makes far more than the minimum expense needed to feed and shelter himself.

  • Shawn

    I agree with BigFire, preview is your friend. Should have used it myself.

  • Döbeln

    “I like how the “liberal” keeps mentioning the “30% overhead” (I assume he’s referring to profits). I’m sure he wouldn’t have been emphasizing that as much if they were discussing his salary, and how he probably makes far more than the minimum expense needed to feed and shelter himself.”

    ‘Overhead’ indeed – because we all know how capital owners burn all their cash on vast desks, beluga caviar and backrubs…

    As for “30%”, that’s not the net figure. After deducting maintenance and replacement costs, it is significantly lower. And for those petty percentage points that are left these people want to destroy our society?

    Regards, Döbeln

    -Stabil som fan!

  • eric

    I stopped reading CT long ago, after getting much the same reaction to disputing anything with them.

    If you don’t agree with them, by definition you must be some sort of Nazi.

  • It pains me to see the word ‘liberal’ so bastardized…

  • Crooked Timberism is not unlike road rage. In the latter, certain drivers see other road-users as obstructive or competitive. Going from point A to point B consists of clearing the obstructions, despatching the competitors and, sometimes, evangelising a kind of morality of the road.

    When another road-use obstructs or competes too much or, God forbid, commits a road sin, something unforgivable has been done and a violent and unpredictable outrage ensues within the culprit.

    This model works quite well with Crooked Timberism. Remember that the subject matter, be it Israel, race and immigration, Bush, gay rights etc, is just the trigger. The left’s morbid mentality only allows that ordinary road-users be overtaken. The white heterosexual male – and, when appropriate, his mother, wife, sister or daughter – must be consigned to the equal mass of “traffic” back down the road. Resist and fuck you, you racist bastard.

    If one examines the roots of private aggressions like this one always finds morbidity somewhere. The latent hatred within road ragers is self hatred, of course. Each victory on the road is a small but pathetically misguided attempt at healing. In Crooked Timberism each new equality, each new way to rub out the prominence of the majority is a way to rub out the self-hatred within.

  • GUy Herbert

    Never mind the 30% figure, where does he get his “typical” 3% admin cost for state systems? Not from the NHS that’s for sure.

    They don’t employ more bureaucrats than medics in France and Germany, but once you have a state-sponsored insurance system there’s an awful lot of form filling in addition to the ordinary admin that nobody, private or public, can do without. Anything below 10% would be highly implausible.

    So where are the “typical” administrative paragons to be found?

  • Inspire 28

    I agree with GUy. There is no government program with 3% overhead.

  • Mark Ellott

    I echo Jonathan’s lament regarding the word “liberal” These people are not liberals – a true liberal is generous of nature.

    The Collins dictionary defines the liberal as: tolerant of different behaviour or opinions and believes people should be free to do or think as they like.

    The behaviour illustrated here is another form of fascism and we should never lose sight of that.

    Shawn’s comment about the more rational the argument, the more extreme the response is a reflection of human nature – never try to reason with the unreasonable – it just doesn’t work…

  • Here in the U.S., the “overhead” of the Department of Health and Human Services is about 71%. That figure has remained pretty stable since 1985.

    That’s right: of every dollar appropriated for “charity” through Washingtom, 71 cents becomes cost-of-operation. That includes the salaries of the operators, of course.

  • Three percent overhead ? Says who ? Except for Microsoft with Windows a year or so after a release, I don’t think a lot of organizations achieve this. Although the government does have an advantage. It does not pay taxes. And the taxes paid by its employees go back to its pockets. So overhead cost per head, so to speak, are lower. Which makes it all the more damning that the private sector almost always achieves better results.

    It is always sort of surreal to hear about people talk about the ‘upper class’. Not to long ago, some TV pundit individual here was asked to define the ‘rich’, the ‘upper classs’ in concrete terms.

    By his definition, I am one of them. But so is he, and even deeper into it than me. That, however, didn’t seem to faze him one bit.

  • R. C. Dean

    Governments excel in externalizing their costs, so any “overhead” figure that looks only at agency budgets will be low. Regulations and administrative burdens imposed by agencies on their wards should also be added to the tab, in my opinion.

    The federal Department of Health and Human Services, for example, essentially requires health care providers to carry much of its paperwork load for it via regulation. I forget the exact number, but I think the average physician spends as much or more time on paperwork as they do on patient care.

    For many agencies, I would expect their “overhead” including externalities to exceed 100% of their budgets.

  • George Vogt

    Mark Ellot hit the nail on the head. “Intolerant liberal” is just as much of an oxymoron as “compassionate conservative”. Leftist maybe, but not liberal.

  • RightOn

    I have been arguing with “liberals on line” for about a year, and the comments I have seen here about their attitude and behavior is accurate.

    The liberal debate pattern is easy to detect, and it is based on detestation to their opposition versus being rational and civil. The more you support your argument, the nastier they get, just as someone has said. The Liberals manage to divert the “discussion” into a personal tirade in an attempt to impugn your character, make you look foolish and “stupid”, and they resort to other child like behavior. 99.9% of all liberal “debates” I have had have all managed to take the eye of the ball; that is, take the focus off of the political issue at hand and put the focus of the attack and insult on you, the conservative. It’s a trick and a trap, and you will soon realize that whatever it is they are attacking you with isn’t even germaine to the discussion. You soon realize that you are no longer even discussing politics anymore, but are surrounded by a bunch of bullies that just want to harass you. They want you to go away, because your thoughts are a threat to theirs. Your logical thoughts are a threat, because their thoughts lack anything coherent and cogent. This is why they resort to being abusive.

    In every forum I have bothered to debate about politics on, the liberals always dominated the discussion. My “input” was always pounced on in a pack like manner by wolves. My take on it is that the liberals cannot stand the opposition, and they must try to completely tear you down as a person in order to prove to the world that they are superior. They are cowards.

    Their tactics are tiresome and relentless. In one political debate their game was to pick and choose words that I had used and say that I was misusing them; thus, claiming that I was “butchering the English language.” In every single one of their attempts of this, they were invalidated, yet they still insisted that I was an idiot that was illiterate. One poster went so far as to accuse me of making up words, and picked a particular word that I had “invented.” That tactic was finally relinquished when I posted the URL to dictionary.com with the word in the URL, proving it was a legitimate word. What was also revealed was it was them that didn’t know the meaning(s) of the words I was using.

    It boils down to the fact of the liberal mentality, which is that of an adolescent, at best. Their thinking isn’t mature thinking, and it explains why everything is so one dimensional to them. Liberals do not understand responsibility nor consequences of action.

    Arguing with them is like arguing with a headstrong, rebellious teenager. Don’t forget that they have rewritten history and take things out of context….constantly. The real kicker is that they are supposedly the partisan party that stands for tolerance of anyone different. The truth is that they only want to associate with their kind, and they are some of the most hateful people I have ever come across.