I support Ron Paul: How Satire Works

In this song I say I am voting for Ron Paul. Even though I spend the song talking about how bad Ron Paul is, since people are actually voting for Ron Paul, it’s not a joke, but will be used as moral justification for those who do. Just like the Chick-fil-A song is not a joke because people actually eat at Chick-fil-A and all the parts of the song that are talking about how bad Chick-fil-A is don’t count because people will use it as moral justification to eat there.

Sorry, it turns out I’m a big Ron Paul supporter and I didn’t even know it.  I think PZ’s going to kick me off FreethoughtBlogs now.

I support Ron Paul: How Satire Works
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32 thoughts on “I support Ron Paul: How Satire Works

    1. 2.2

      To get all unfun and serious for a moment, the problem with libertarianism is that they don’t recognize that power differentials and information asymmetries are very real problems that have the exact same impact as their vaunted “Force” which they are oh so focused on all the time.

      1. Information asymmetries?

        Where would you look to find out about the quality of a restaurant? Would you call the local government office or do a quick Google search? Information is already available to people if they want it. You can subscribe to various magazines, there’s yelp, Glassdoor, ConsumerReports, RottenTomatoes, and so on, and so on, and so on.

        Who was providing the information about the housing crisis back as early as 2002? Was it the government? Nope, it was private individuals.

        The information is available to people because there’s a market for it. This is true for all commodities.

        I’d like to know why people think the lack of information would necessarily increase with fewer government regulations.

        Information asymmetry exists now because of things like insider trading laws, government subsidies, etc.

        Some would argue that by forcing people to be certified helps solve the problem of information asymmetry. “If a pilot isn’t certified I won’t know who’s flying the plane and we will crash and die!” First you’d have to assume that an airline would benefit from having pilots that can’t fly. Secondly, you’d have to assume that there would be no market for private certification agencies.

        Note: I not once tried to argue that fraud should be legal. So don’t even try that one.

        I don’t have time to go into power differentials right now but since you are making the claim that it’s a very real problem please explain why it would necessarily become a greater problem if we had a government who’s sole focus is on protecting individual rights.

        Another note: I said “individual rights”. Not white male rights. Don’t be one of those people (not saying you are) that think white males are the only people that can be considered individuals. “If we lived in a libertarian society we would have slaves!” Right, because you (rhetorical you) think certain people don’t qualify as individuals.

          1. Don’t just assert it, give examples.

            We have thousands and thousands of pages of regulations now, yet the systems is being taken advantage of. In fact, the reason the system can be taken advantage of is because of the regulations.

            Companies understand that by using the government they can stifle competition. Recently Microsoft has called for regulation of cloud computing. Why would they do this? They know that because of their massive amount of capital, they will have no problems complying. A new start-up, however, could face serious problems in overcoming the hurdles imposed by the regulations.

            US history is full of examples of regulatory capture. The ICC and the railroads, the FCC and the media networks, the SEC and Wall Street, the EPA and established energy companies, and so on and so on. It’s almost always true that those being regulated end up beings the regulators. Get rid of the regulations and you get rid of the cycle.

            Regulations/government agencies tend to be much more inefficient the private enterprise:

            Take Bernie Madoff for example. Despite all of the regulations and an entire government agency that is devoted to catching people like him, he still managed to evade arrest for nearly 2 decades. And it’s not like no one knew what was going on. Harry Markopolos sent letters to the SEC warning them about Madoff’s ponzi scheme 9 years before he was arrested.

        1. Among the information likely to be on the first page of results of your quick Google search is a report on the establishment’s compliance with governmnet quality control regulations.

          Google doesn’t provide information so much as it collates available information. It’s a secondary (at best) source. The information comes from somewhere else, and many times, that “somewhere else” is a government website.

          If the government got out of providing evaluations of (to continue with your example) restaurant quality, all you would be able to find is a bunch of reviews logged by who knows how many paid shills on behalf of the restaurant, and by who knows how many paid shills of competitors. Oh, and probably by some actual customers as well.

          1. You completely ignored all the other sources I provided.

            Edmunds does independent reviews on automobiles, no government needed. Consumer Reports does independent reviews on basically everything, no government required. RottenTomatoes does independent reviews of media, no government required. While Google doesn’t create the content, it does make the content easily accessible to anyone that wants the information.

            I don’t know of anyone that uses government required information when selecting a restaurant. Word of mouth is almost always used. Perhaps my experiences are the exception.

            On the last point of the “paid shills”: It is most certainly in the best interests of the company providing product reviews to do so in a fair manner. If their costumers lose confidence in their reviews they will stop making money.

            I’m late going back to work but I will definitely check back later so I can address this more in depth and hopefully respond to more counterpoints.

  1. 4

    Ok, that was hilarious. And you were focused and on point the whole time. It wasn’t two or three lines about how awful Ron Paul is followed by several more about how delicious he is.

    I think that comparison got away from me.

    This is a much, much more on point satire. What makes it good is that reasonable people can see his ideas as insane when you put them that way. There was none of the “this is insane” rhetoric in the other one.

    Basically, you just did a better job.

    And now my co-workers are looking at me funny both for having “Ron Paul” on my computer screen and laughing.

      1. Now, I am not an expert on anything regarding politics and I could be completely wrong here, but is it not a good idea to first understand something before attempting to criticize it?

      1. More specifically, the late 19th century in America. The gilded age.

        Golden era for incredibly rich white men who got to watch the money pile on. Dark age for the working class, particularly immigrants; turns out that working 16+ hours a day, six days a week with no benefits of any kind doesn’t work out too well for them.

        And were it not for government, this would never have ended.

        Libertarianism hits a snag when it assumes that only the government can be abusive, and that abuse among corporations can always be solved by not buying their products. This would be true in an ideal world, but we, of course, don’t live in an ideal world.

        Some of us prefer to be pragmatic rather than idealistic.

        1. The fact is, you would be hard pressed to find any other period in human history where the standard of living for the average person was increased so rapidly as it did in the 19th century. Prior to the 19th century, world GDP remained relatively stagnant – from 1800 to 1850 it more than doubled, and did so again by 1900. By the 20th century the United States had the highest per capita income in the world, 50% higher than its closest competitor.

          It’s true that some people got incredibly rich during the 19th century. Don’t, however, make the same mistake as some and think that this means others must have gotten poorer. On the contrary, by amassing an incredible amount of wealth, the business magnates of the 19th century were able to make the lives of all significantly better.

          Take James Hill for example, who managed to cut the length of time it took to travel from St. Paul, MN to Seattle, WA down to 70 hours. Prior to the development it could have take over a month to make the same trip. The population of Seattle went from 1,107 in 1870 to 80,671 in 1900.

          Andrew Carnegie is another great example. In 1867, wrought iron rails sold for $83 per ton; steel rails sold for $170 per ton. By 1884, Carnegie was able to drop the price of steel rails down to $32 per ton while increasing annual production from 2550 tons to 1,500,000 tons – a 58,000% increase. After retirement, Carnegie went on to donate much of his time to philanthropic causes and by 1911, he had given away 90% of his fortune.

          On the subject of immigrant well-being: all one has to do is look at how the people voted with their feet. From 1820 to 1910, 27,918,992 people left everything they knew behind to come to the United States. When comparing to today it’s easy to say that the 19th century was the Dark Ages for the working class, but it’s a false comparison. The immigrants came to America because they knew that it offered the most economic freedom which allowed for the best opportunities for increasing their well-being, and that’s exactly what happened, because as I said before, at the turn of the 20th century, the United States had the highest per capita income in the world.

          1. Interesting anecdotal evidence. However, the late 19th Century was also the greatest period of growth in government regulation (i.e. the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890), organized labor movements (Pullman strike, et al.) and calamitous industrial accidents leading to a change in social awareness of labor and poverty issues (Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, as an example). While there may be an intellectual argument to be had as to whether one man donating large amounts of money to philanthropic endeavors improved the lives of the average American more than the widespread changing of public policies and opinions, I suspect it would be a disingenuous one.

  2. 8

    There’s not much I can do if the data I present is going to be dismissed without any sort of explanation; it’s certainly not anecdotal.

    I can’t argue against the contradictory ideas that the late 19th century was both:

    a) The period that marked the greatest growth in government regulation. (Not true, just compare it to the Tsardom of Russia or the Tokugawa shogunate.)

    b) An example of a time where “without regulation people take advantage to a sickening degree”. (Also not true, especially when compared to the amount of corruption that occurs because of regulation.)

    “Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic and reason and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas.”

    1. 8.1

      Those two ideas are not contradictory. You state that the increase in standard of living (which I would contend does have something to do with mean income, but less to do with prices of industrial goods) is the result of the largesse of the few very wealthy individuals who controlled the means of industrial production, with a sidelong glance at their willingness (in some cases) to donate much of their fortune to philanthropic endeavors at the end of their lives. I respond that the increase in standard of living owes at least equal part to the collectivisation of labor, the increased media and public awareness of unfair labor and social practices, and government regulations enacted to restrict the runaway capitalism of the time. I do not say that capitalism has no part in the economic boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that would be patently untrue. Many of the effects of that economic expansion were genuinely horrifying for the working classes. (If you have not read How the Other Half Lives, I would recommend it. Though it is a bit of shock journalism, it would stand as a useful counterpoint to the reading you have evidently done on the lives of the Robber-Barons.)

      So, it is not contradictory to point out that (as someone else wrote), without regulation, advantage will be taken to a sickening degree, and to demonstrate that, in response to such advantage being taken, government regulations will be instituted. It is a natural ebb and flow of capitalist republics/democracies.

      I throw up my hands at the implication that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is in any way comparable to tyrannical government control. I was, of course, limiting myself to a discussion of US government regulation. To suggest a parity with an aristocratic autocracy is as close to a Godwin violation as may be achieved in this discussion.

      1. It is a contradiction to say that the late 19th century was a period without government regulation and also the period with the greatest growth in government regulation. I suppose it doesn’t really matter though, each are false on their own.

        “I throw up my hands at the implication that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is in any way comparable to tyrannical government control.”
        This is hardly important, but to clarify, you misconstrued what I said. I was explaining why it is not true that the late 19th century marked the greatest growth of government regulation by showing periods with extreme government regulation. That is to say, I was contrasting the two, not comparing. Looking back I should have known you were talking about United States history alone, and I apologize. It makes you wonder though. Why is it that throughout most of the history of mankind, economic growth remained relatively stagnant; and it wasn’t until the principles of individualism, private property, and liberty began to be recognized that we finally started to truly prosper?

        Now, moving on to the important stuff.

        To say that the increase in the standard of living had less to do with the price of industrial goods than an increase in mean income makes me think you might not understand how the two are related, which would also explain why you have their levels of importance backwards. (I need to clarify that price wasn’t the only thing I mentioned, I also spoke about a dramatic production increase, in other words, economic efficiency.) An increase in wages is dependent upon economic efficiency. If your business isn’t efficient you will go bankrupt and all the people you employed will be without jobs. It is only after you create an efficient business model that you will be able to increase the wages of your workers. This is empirically evident when you look at the history of the relationship between output and wages for any modern industry.

        The problem with “How the Other Half Lives” is that it completely ignored how the other half used to live. Like I said before, 30 million immigrants came to the United States in the 19th century because they knew it offered something better than what they had. It’s true that times were hard when compared to how they are now; they had to have been. You don’t start at the top, you have to make your way up from the bottom. An increase in public awareness certainly helped on our path to the top, I wouldn’t deny that, nor did I ever say anything to the contrary. Public awareness is an essential component in any free market and, as far as I can tell, has no downsides.

        Let me be clear and say that I have no problems with labor unions so long as they meet the following conditions: they must be voluntary, and they must not get any special privileges from government. Unfortunately, neither of these conditions are being met. This is a clear example that shows the negative impacts of government regulation of the market. In my state, and many others, in order to be a teacher you must join the teacher’s union; you have absolutely no say in the matter. The only people that benefit from labor unions are those that happen to be members, and it’s almost always at the expense of the unskilled, the consumers, and the businesses that employ them. Minimum wage is a good example. What section of the population has been hit the hardest by minimum wage laws? It’s the very people that the law is supposed to help, the poor, who are more likely to be unskilled and uneducated (due in part to bad public schools). By mandating a wage that is higher than the labor value of an individual is to create an entire class of people that have no way to develop the skills needed to reach the standard imposed – ultimately, they remain unemployed. Put bluntly: minimum wage laws have no positive effect on society.

        I want to pose a specific question. How do you suggest we deal with the problems of regulatory capture and crony capitalism without taking a Classic Liberal approach to the economy and government?

  3. 9

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  4. 10

    2013年5月7日にニューヨークのメトロポリタン美術館で9日からスタートする「パンク?カオス?トゥ?クチュール」展を記念して開催された「コスチューム?インスティチュート?ガラ」に、ウィメンズフレグランス「グッチ プルミエール」のイメージモデルにも起用されているブレイク?ライブリーがグッチを着用して出席しました。

  5. 11

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