It’s Schmitt Time Again

by Kieran Healy on March 1, 2005

“Go read”: That’s all.

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tongue, but no door
03.01.05 at 9:44 am



bob mcmanus 03.01.05 at 3:36 am

I linked to it in comments at Yglesias. A short bit of the thread:

“The problem with Schmitt’s theory is it doesn;t account for the much alrger expeansion of the welfare state during and after WWII.” lemuel pitkin

“The widespread and permanent appreciation of government gained by the average citizen by the New Deal, WWII and the policies following it, like the GI Bill of Rights. The “Greatest Generation” deeply believed that government could and did do good things, for themselves and the world.” …my response

“Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying.”” …Grover Norquist, quoted by lemuel pitkin

Thank you Mr Schmitt


mc 03.01.05 at 3:46 pm

Interesting. On one point: Schmitt writes:
“The political problem with this is that even if it’s right, it’s a long-term theory. The average Republican congressman doesn’t want to hear about creating a lot of Republicans four or sixteen or thirty-two years from now, if he’s going to take a lot of heat for it this year.”
This is true, but it cuts both ways. Those who are likely to lose by the change won’t feel the downside for four or sixteen or thirty-two years either. This makes it easier to keep the debate in abstract terms, where the republicans can present themselves as innovative/practical and present their opponents as backward/utopian. And while many of us might be appalled at the idea that they might win the abstract debate, given how poor their abstract arguments are – all I am saying is, they’ve won with poor arguments before, and they are surely more likely to win with abstract arguments than by encouraging people to think about whether they are likely to be net winners/losers. I think something similar happened in the UK in the 1980s – with the switch from earnings-linked to price-linked pensions, and the downgrading of the state second pension – both profound changes which were (I think) mainly debated in abstract terms, which were in fact, and predictably, against the interests of a majority, but whose effects weren’t fully realised for years. And of course these changes largely determine the constraints of the current pension problem, twenty years on…


abb1 03.01.05 at 6:13 pm

I disagree with the idea that they do it because of their ideology. Ideology is smoke and mirrors; there’s only one ideology: advancing (mostly short-term) economic interests of your main constituency. That’s what they do. They don’t want to raise rich-man taxes when the poor-man program starts cashing treasury notes 15 years from now. They want to steal that money – $2-3 trillion, whatever it is. That’s all there is to it, IMHO.

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