Another Boxer

by John Holbo on August 7, 2011

This one goes with the others. (Having posted two, it would be more strange not to post a third.)

Fred Welsh (LOC)

In other news, I notice that Erick Erickson has some difficulty with the is/ought distinction. He reasons that, since Republicans in fact will not raise taxes under any circumstances, it follows that one can’t fault Republicans for not raising taxes. That would be like blaming the rain for raining. Or something. A nice illustration of the advantages and disadvantages of extreme intransigence for political life, perhaps.



speranza 08.07.11 at 3:18 am


John Holbo 08.07.11 at 3:23 am

That’s perfect! Such is Mango!


Joe 08.07.11 at 6:00 am

I always got Mango and that simian character Chris Kattan does on SNL mixed up. Either way, I never thought Chris Kattan’s comedy genius (hah!) would be used as a metaphor for Republican intransigence. This has got to be an internet first.


MattF 08.07.11 at 12:34 pm

Oh, this one’s easy. A Republican is defined as a person who will not raise taxes under any circumstances. So, policy-shmolicy. QED.


rea 08.07.11 at 1:53 pm

Wikipedia explains:

The Scorpion and the Frog is a fable about a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature. The fable is used to illustrate the position that the behavior of some creatures is irrepressible, no matter how they are treated and no matter what the consequences.


Tim O'Keefe 08.07.11 at 2:06 pm

He reasons that, since Republicans in fact will not raise taxes under any circumstances, it follows that one can’t fault Republicans for not raising taxes.

Yes, but if the Republicans won’t raise taxes under any circumstances, then their behavior isn’t reasons-responsive, and thus they aren’t morally responsible for what they do. I presume that Erickson was working with some sort of criterion of moral responsibility along these lines, although he didn’t explicitly spell it out.


Henri Vieuxtemps 08.07.11 at 2:43 pm

Well, while this Erick Erickson person (if that’s his real name) does sound like an egregious hack, I imagine he would explain it this way: the Republicans are known to refuse to raise taxes under any circumstances. Despite this well-known fact (of because of it), Republican majority is elected to the congress. -> Tax increases are off the table, and that’s a fact of life, end of story.


John Holbo 08.07.11 at 9:09 pm

Henri, Erick Erickson – that is is real name – is rather prominent.

I’m not going to address your reconstructed argument unless you tell me you are unaware that it doesn’t really make matters any better – which is doesn’t.


John Holbo 08.07.11 at 9:12 pm

Good one, rea.


Randy Paul 08.08.11 at 2:23 am


I concur with John. I love that story. I first saw it in the Orson Welles film, Mr. Arkadin.


James 08.11.11 at 5:36 am

Can someone answer me a question? Is it reasonable to increase revenues by substantively simplifying the tax code, eliminating nearly all tax breaks and loopholes, while also slightly reducing rates?

I think this is the sort of revenue increase that republicans could get behind, but I don’t know what sort of ill effect closing some of these tax breaks would have.

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