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« Another hit on Trump, which only strengthens him | Main | What is "genuine conservatism"? »

July 28, 2015


Despair away Mr Podhoretz. Have a good cry. My new word for today appears to be cuckservative for it is the second time it has come up in the last hour. The first was at Vox where it origins and meaning were explained. A portmanteau of cuckhold and conservative it is intended to also convey a racist sexual overtone describing white men who want to watch their women have sex with black males. I have some difficulty in laughing at that particular aspect of the usage. I'm not sure I can put in the schadenfreude box either. In fact I don't think the word exists that can describe watching a group of people publicly and angrily soiling their own britches for all to see.

Possibly in a future post you'll explain what a "real" conservative would be in the 21st century or recommend a source. Privatization has been a highly visible failure. The potential downsides of modern technology rule out minimal oversight, including in economics. There's not likely to be an opportunity for another Lincoln. Possibly a TR could do the modern equivalent of trust busting, except that's now liberal territory. Are they going to exist on supporting religion? The Pope is even chasing them away. That leaves only low taxes and either bellicose or isolationist foreign policy; pretty thin stuff.

I noted elsewhere, I think Booman's place, that JPod's entire lament is based on a faulty premise that Trump is something new. He's not. Trump is basically Mitt Romney without the genteel overcoat. Romney's entire campaign was based on two things: (1) Extremely fact-challenged hate of all things Obama; and (2) "I'm a businessman so I'll fix the economy." You can add self-deportation.

Tell me, how is Trump any different, fundamentally? He's just more flamboyant in his obnoxiousness. That's it.

These superficially moderate or serious candidates they've put forward have allowed the party to pretend not to notice how utterly batshit it has allowed itself to become. Trump's utility is that he's giving everyone a good long look at what's behind the mask.

That's a very good question that I have been thinking about for some time without really coming to any sort of conclusion. I suspect that conservatism and liberalism will ultimately attempt to mediate between what government does well and what should be left to the private sector. This appears to be what happens in well run social democracies. I would disagree that privatization per se is a failure. There are many example where it was both necessary and more efficient. State run commercial enterprises tend to be rife with corruption nepotism and political interference and not in a positive way.

If you've ever worked for a large corporation you know the private sector can be every bit as rife with the bad habits you mention as government. Often their problems are more intractable too. If the public doesn't like what the government is doing they can vote for change. The general population has no recourse regarding the private sector, often even if they're shareholders.

Take a look at news stories having to do with attempts to privatize roads, power supply (Enron and fracking companies are great examples) and oversight functions in, for example, drug safety, banking and healthcare insurance.

I have observed such things at very close range and to much personal harm. And what I have observed is that governments are very reluctant to either investigate corruption in firms they have the responsibility for running or act on it in any meaningful way. You can't regulate and operate without very long arms length control. And that almost never exists.
From a purely economic point of view such firms are usually used as political tools for employment, are overstaffed in consequence with people who shouldn't be there. They have poor economic returns and so don't have either the funds or the incentive to remain competitive or invest in advances in productivity that usually leaves them eventually moribund.

My personal experience has been different. Supposedly government cost plus contracting has abated, but there are plenty of ways around that and taxpayers usually make up the difference. I fear corporations control government more than the other way around. The situation leaves you and me with no say.

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