I will argue that societies with flawed social structures tend to give rise to flawed ideological belief, in a similar (yet perhaps less inevitable) way to the manner in which Hume takes our flawed psychology to lead to what he thinks of as our flawed ideological belief in external things.
We are capable of setting this belief temporarily aside, according to Hume, when we explicitly rationally reflect upon its justification. But as soon as we return to ordinary life, we slip back into believing in external things. In a similar way, when we explicitly rationally reflect upon the flawed ideological beliefs that are caused by living in a society with structural injustice, we often reject them.
What 'structural injustice' obtains on Campus? The answer is that a credentialized twat with tenure is given power over people who may be smarter, more sensible, and better informed. A worthless availability cascade can flourish while alethic research goes begging.
It is easy enough for a Professor- like Jason- to reject the Investment advise of his colleague the Economics professor, or the ethical advise of his colleague the Ethics Professor, on the basis of 'explicit rational reflection' which immediately concedes that a guy who teaches Econ instead of getting rich by applying its principles is not a good authority on portfolio choice. Similarly, Ethics Professors are notoriously immoral. Indeed, never be guided by any Professor of a discipline whose real world practitioners are better paid, enjoy higher prestige and are exempt from having to cater to needy adolescents with short attention-spans.
However, when Jason writes a paper or prepares a lecture he is obliged to put on the required ideological blinkers and quote various cretins in his own worthless line of work. Furthermore, he is obliged to pretend that what he is doing is helpful to 'Democracy' or 'Social Justice' or some other such abstraction.
But when we return to ordinary life, we nevertheless slip back into the flawed ideological beliefs.
Jason's 'ordinary life' involves writing this nonsense.
A goal of this book is to provide an argument for equality by showing that one central cause of effective propaganda is inequalities, both material and political. Inequalities tend to result in flawed ideology, which explains the effectiveness of propaganda. To eliminate the kinds of flawed ideologies that are particularly problematic democratically, we need to seek a society that embodies equality at the structural level.
Jason's discipline has degenerated. It represents a deep silo of shit. Structural equality demands that we ignore worthless credentials and citation cartels masquerading as 'peer review'.
Is Jason prepared to 'seek' such a society within his own Department? Will he say- 'hire the guy who lectures best on this topic, not the guy with the credentials for the post?' Will he go further yet and admit that there should be a moratorium on funding for Research characterized by low or negative epistemic returns?
The problem here is that 'ideology' often means stuff you have to pretend to believe in to get a wage because you are unemployable in any other field.
My goal in this chapter is to elucidate the sense of flawed ideology that mediates between the facts of substantive inequality and the effectiveness of antidemocratic propaganda.
Jason, because of the socialized nature of his work, is a victim of flawed ideology flowing from substantive epistemic inequality which is a structural feature of life in a University Department.
There is a danger that must be immediately addressed, which is that my claim will be taken as somewhat trivial. Suppose that a flawed ideology is one that is fundamentally morally or politically bad, and suppose that inequality of any kind, even material inequality, is morally or politically bad. From the perspective of the view that justice requires material equality, and a moral conception of flawed ideology, it is not surprising that the ideology of a materially unequal society looks to be problematically flawed.
Tenured Professors earn more than T.As but there may be people even worse off than T.As. Furthermore, how is it fair that some have to pay to come to class while others get paid to do so?
And it is not surprising that a materially unequal society will give rise to the ideology that a just society can tolerate substantial material inequality.
This sentence is worth closer examination. 'Material inequality' is something which can be objectively measured. Societies wholly unconcerned with ideology or distribution nevertheless may generate data sets which enable us to measure material inequality. Indeed, for Positive Economics, there are all sorts of uses for such indices which have to do with making businesses more profitable rather than political philosophy.
On the other hand, the notion of a 'just society' is a value judgment which may be ideological but is certainly not 'positive' or capable of being given a canonical mathematical representation.
Should we be surprised if a given society has an ideology that considers it to be good, just, fair, and pleasing to the Gods? Not if it has a clerisy that could benefit by sporting such an ideology. But this is merely to say that if there is potential benefit from having a particular type of thought, then that type of thought is likely to exist to some degree or other.
Put this way, the immediate corollary is that this type of thought is likely to be shitty coz nobody will pay very much for it. After all, the thing is merely a type of sycophancy which flatters an entire class and thus, by reason of a 'free-rider' problem, fails to secure the more substantial rewards accorded a rich man's parasite.
If Ideology matters about as much as a beggar's 'Gor' bless yer' or a tinker's curse, why bother with it at all?
Because I am interested in arguing for a stronger claim than this, my focus is not on a political or moral notion of flaw. It is on a purely epistemic notion of flaw.
It makes sense for a philosopher to worry about epistemic flaws. But surely the right place for to look for them is in areas where knowledge and its validation matters a great deal- stuff like COVID research- not in places where the thing may be entirely absent?
My argument will be that certain ideologies have epistemic flaws, in addition to what one might regard as the epistemic flaws of all ideological beliefs. These are flawed ideologies.
Presumably, given the nature of Jason's profession, his ideology is more epistemic and thus more flawed than anything similar possessed by one less credentialized. But why draw attention to his own abjectness? Are there prizes for saying 'I teach the shittiest subject in the world. Among all types of Professors, I am the most ignorant, stupid and 'epistemically flawed'. Seriously guys, if you don't restrain me I'm bound to try to bite my own head off.'
Among these flawed ideologies are ones that are particularly problematic democratically (as I will argue in the next chapter).
Since Jason is concerned with Democracy and has participated in public discourse about supposed threats to it, it is particularly concerning that he has been 'socially constructed' or 'conditioned', by a highly unequal and unjust specialist environment, to have a flawed, deeply anti-democratic, ideology.
Another Jason- Jason Brennan- has been explicitly arguing 'against Democracy' and for 'epistocracy'. It could be argued that similar social conditions are producing similar effects- though Stanley would seem to be part of the 'woke' Left while Brennan identified as a 'bleeding heart Libertarian'.
My argument would also be trivialized if I were presupposing that material inequality is democratically problematic.
Presuppositions can't by themselves trivialize arguments because they must be conditional, not unconditional, tautologies. (If they are tautologies then everybody presupposes them). It is never a trivial matter to look at why and when conditions apply.
If I were presupposing this, then it would not be a surprise that the ideological belief that material inequality is democratically acceptable would be democratically problematic.
Yet this isn't the case. Democracies don't say that ideologies are problematic on the basis of the economic theory that underlies them.
But I am not presupposing that material inequality is democratically problematic. I am arguing that it is, and my argument does not require its conclusion as a presupposition. Substantive inequalities, including material inequalities, are democratically problematic because they typically result in democratically problematic flawed ideologies, which contain the beliefs that make demagoguery effective.
Stanley's demagoguery is ineffective. We may well believe that 'substantive inequalities' in his social milieu have saddled him with a flawed ideology but we just dismiss him as a fool. This is not democratically problematic at all.
And as I have showed in the introduction, effective demagoguery is an obstacle to all varieties of democracy.
But an obstacle easily circumvented by saying 'that guy be kray kray'.
Epistemic practices that are partial, in the sense of biased toward the interests of one party, lead to characteristic failures of rationality in one’s reasoning about what to do politically.
The beauty of the Condorcet Jury theorem is that as the sample size increases, various different type of nuttiness cancel each other out.
Partiality in some domains is necessary for ordinary cognitive functioning. For example, one of the key experiments for my discussion involves the mistakes in rationality made by fans of a sports team.
But to be a fan is to take pleasure in an irrational attachment. The thing is about love, not logic.
Another example I use involves the mistakes in rationality made by members of a family who do not wish to condemn their parents. But this kind of partiality is just an effect of the normal functioning of being a sports fan and being a member of a family. By not being partial in one’s reasoning in these ways in being a sports fan, or by not being partial to one’s family members, one is not engaged in the practice in the right way.
It is repugnant to speak of the 'right way' or 'wrong way' to do something whose great value arises from its being spontaneous.
It is a familiar point about liberalism that it requires a division between the personal and the political.
I am not familiar with any such division. On the other hand, where there is a separate realm of the political, the bureaucratic, the managerial, the academic, the legal, the professional etc., etc then such divisions may arise. But then again they may not save by express stipulation.
Liberalism is consistent with partiality in judgments, as long as it remains in the so-called personal domain, examples of which are plausibly domains such as sports fandom and family relations.
This is an illiberal view. Liberalism is defined with reference to Tarskian primitives regarding which no conditional tautology holds universally.
But liberalism condemns certain kinds of partiality that are natural and even desired within these domains when they are imported to reasoning about public policy. The standard liberal political theorist has no quarrel with a billionaire’s partiality to her son. However, liberalism condemns the billionaire when she seeks to affect public policy in ways guided by the desire to advance her son’s interests over the interests of others.
This is not the case. Liberalism is not in the business of condemning a Mom for seeking to affect public policy in any legal manner such that a Hohfeldian immunity accrues to her. If there is some improper action the Conservative may be quicker to detect and punish the transgression. Being Liberal doesn't mean you are always the first off the block when it comes to condemning peeps or tarring and feathering them or forcing them to eat dog turds till they give up their evil ways.
I will explain,
Jason can't explain shit. But he will illustrate
in what follows, how a certain kind of partiality undermines the kind of deliberation we expect when people are thinking about public policy for everyone.
Jason is partial to condemning people and talking nonsense. This undermines the kind of deliberation we expect when people are thinking about public policy for everyone.
It is not just any partiality; it is not, for example, a rational preference for one’s self-interest.
It is a partiality for shrill condemnation and talking worthless shite.
One special class that will interest us involves beliefs that are connected to one’s identity, characteristically by legitimating it.
This is a very special class- requiring very very special education- indeed. I suppose it consists of people who keep showing your their Student I.D and saying 'look at that photo!' Do you know who that is? It is me! I have proof! Look at that photo! Read the name on it! Do you know who that is? It is me! I have proof! Look at this birth certificate! Read the name on it! Do you know who that is? It is me! What's more my birth was LEGITIMATE. Look at this marriage certificate etc. etc.'
Jason may indeed be reduced to teaching people of the above description but I beg to suggest that Democracies have bigger problems to discuss.
We all have such beliefs, and not all of them are democratically problematic.
No we don't. We are not lunatics.
They become democratically problematic when they prevent us from perceiving important parts of reality, characteristically social reality.
Rubbish! This is a problem best dealt with by psychiatrists. Democracies don't have to bother with nutters. Their craziness cancels out by the magic of the Condorcet Jury theorem.
When the identity tied up with an ideology is one that benefits from being ignorant of some parts of social reality, the ideology will often be of this sort.
Jason's identity as a philosopher has become tied up with the ideology of being a woke nutter who ignores everything about 'social reality' so as to talk nonsense of a paranoid type.
Here is a possible example of the kind of problematic partiality in question; I do not claim it is a description of how things are. I considered in the introduction the possibility that political party affiliation is a method to deceive citizens to import partiality that is a normal and healthy part of certain practices, such as being a sports fan, into a realm in which it is not appropriate, namely, political decisions.
But what is even more likely is that political parties try to deceive us into thinking we've been invited to an actual party. Heavily pregnant women join the Labour Party coz it would be fun to give birth in a party atmosphere. I joined the Liberal Party coz them guys are very liberal with the cocktails and canapes- right?
As a matter of fact, if you like watching good quality sports, it makes sense to join a good quality sports club which picks good players and good trainers and good managers and arranges matches with the best teams in the area. That is how organized sports got started.
Similarly, political parties can do a good job of involving people in the discussion of relevant issues and then selecting candidates and bringing in experts to brief them and so on and so forth.
There is nothing sinister about any of this. Jason may think differently. It may be his own bitter experience that he was deceived into joining the Yale Philosophy Department. He thought it was a fan club for votaries of female mud wrestling. His intense partiality in this respect made him vulnerable to a cruel practical joke. He is now bringing all the passion and partiality appropriate to a man masturbating while watching an imaginary mud wrestling match to questions of politics. Thus, he is exposed to scorn and ridicule from elderly South Indian men who type this in between watching busty females mud wrestle on You Tube. Fuck you Yale Philosophy Department! Fuck you very much!
If so, then political party affiliation is illiberal.
But it isn't so.
Beliefs that are connected to one’s identity will be difficult to abandon.
Why? The thing is easily done. You hear your name called out at the airport and hurry to the desk. But some other guy was meant. You abandon your belief quickly enough.
So it will be difficult to abandon the beliefs connected to one’s identity as a political party member.
This simply isn't true of most people. Political parties really aren't brain-washing cults. Chances are, if you joined a particular party, it was because you already had a lot in common with the other members who persuaded you to join. The truth is, we'd think it odd- in a genuine Democracy- if a person mentioned their party affiliation before saying anything else about themselves. Still, there are some epithets which can be quite useful. An Afghan friend of mine- the strapping son of a Mujahidin leader- met, on his first visit to Washington, a willowy gentleman of great cultivation who described himself, in a somewhat abashed manner, as a Log Cabin Republican. My friend thought this was a reference to Abraham Lincoln's humble origins and decided that he too would be a Log Cabin Republican. He became very very popular very very quickly. Initially he felt a little puzzled at the extraordinary lengths to which such people went to show their affection to a foreigner but he more than repaid their courtesy by rising to the occasion every time.
Needless to say, an alliance of this sort made short work of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Indeed, I think it was their women who insisted they return before they too turned Log Cabin Republican.
But these will be politically important beliefs, which will now be much less resistant to rational revision. An ideology that is partial becomes democratically problematic when
stupid Professors get their cretinous students to buy into that shite
it affects political judgment about policies that might address the injustices that the ideology overlooks. As long as a partial perspective is kept within its proper domain—for example, sports talk radio—it is not flawed. But as soon as it is imported into discourse and reasoning about the public good, it functions as illiberal.
Nonsense! One can be as partisan as all get out in both sports and politics but what one says is not flawed provided you are recommending sensible things. Sports teams may poach players or strategies from other teams just as political parties do. That's good for sports and it is good for politics.
There is an 'uncorrelated asymmetry' when it comes to oikeiosis- belonging- and this may have game theoretic consequences. One might say- 'this successful policy is one which we, not the other guys, can more easily own for ideographic reasons.' There is nothing illiberal about this because Liberalism is not some nomothetic abstraction. In some countries, it may be a Kripean rigid-designator of a particular political entity whereas in others a particular availability cascade may be denoted.
Running through this book is a detailed argument for equality.
Nothing runs through this book except shit.
Conditions of inequality tend to give rise to flawed ideologies, which make the kind of demagoguery that imperils democracy particularly effective.
Jason believes in repetition. Say a thing often enough and it becomes true- right? Wrong. It becomes meaningless.
One half of this argument is the account of propaganda I provided in previous chapters.
Jason said stuff which wasn't propaganda was propaganda. About actual propaganda he had little to say. Incidentally 'kill the enemy devils!' is not propaganda. It is a slogan- fighting words, we might say. Clearly, some propaganda is legal while, depending on jurisdiction, some propagandistic claims are illegal. However, there is no ambiguity about incitement to kill.
One reason why lawyers and statesmen became concerned with propaganda has to do with the direct cause of the First World War. Was the casus belli Serbian propaganda? Historically, International Law upheld the notion that warmongering, subversive of defamatory propaganda was illegal. But, during the Cold War, people built up an immunity to it. Propaganda became something of a joke. Indeed, one felt sorry for the radio broadcaster with the slightly bizarre accent trying to convince you that your Government was hiding from you the fact that hundreds of millions of your fellow citizens had starved to death while you sat comfortably on your mat sipping gruel.
This is not to say that there can be a non-official, seemingly spontaneous and 'entertainment oriented' propaganda of a racist type whose hidden intention is to undercut the competitiveness of a rival power. I recall watching a documentary about India at the Japanese embassy many years ago. The film was supposed to have aesthetic merit because the cinematographer had won various International awards. However, as a budding economist, I could see that the Japanese were deliberately depicting a potential economic rival as primitive and backward. I don't deny that many Indians live in trees and eat bananas. But most tuck away their tails under their dhotis. I pointed this out to the Commercial attache. He suggested that Sake was much stronger than beer. Still what I said about loin cloths was very interesting.
The other half is the account of flawed ideology I provide here. My accounts of ideology and propaganda are independent, but they are mutually supporting in the book’s argument for equality.
Sadly, shit can't support shit.
I began this chapter by noting that the explanation of ideological belief is the central problem in the works of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume.
The word ideology was invented by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, who followed Condillac's interpretation of Locke. Jefferson translated some of his work. However it was Maine de Biran who gave this 'outer directed' approach sufficient inwardness to be able to deal with Hume's arguments re. personal identity. Essentially, the Continent made a distinction between willing and desiring so as to permit the further growth of a type of speculative philosophy which the English were turning their backs on. Why? Perhaps England was more commercially developed. Its people- whatever their original degree or condition- seemed able to rise rapidly in trade. Why worry about 'substantive fairness' or whether what was willed was properly willed by both parties such that a contract had an epistemic depth superior to a mere deal made, perhaps, for no very high purpose?
I suppose one might say 'ideology'- as the epistemic background to contracts- is more important in places seeking 'catch up growth'. The notion here is that there is something more than commerciality expressing itself. There is an evolution of mentality which it is proper for Courts and Academies to concern themselves with. America- because of the role of the Supreme Court- is somewhat exceptional in that Judicial ideology can be very important. Biden's new Presidential Commission could be a game changer. But it may fail because it itself looks too ideological. The fact is people change as they age but Nations too change as the population ages. Is ideology really important? After all, the thing may cancel itself out or motivate the clearing of paths around it.
We have already discussed how it features in his most famous contribution to epistemology;
since ideas are only the faint echoes of impressions, ideology features in Hume's epistemology as but the ghost of a fart which never actually occurred.
it is just as clearly at the heart of Hume’s naturalistic account of religious belief.
So 'ideology' is at the heart of 'naturalism'- why stop there? Why not put cats at the heart of dogs?
Hume argues that enthusiasm and superstition are the result of “the intrusion onto the formation of our beliefs of hope and fear, respectively.” Hume’s account of superstitious belief (under which he includes religious belief) is that “emotion leads to excessive credulity in judgment—an unwillingness to amend judgment in the light of reflection.”
Hume was 16 when the last witch in Scotland was legally executed. Jason thinks the fellow was talking about Ideology! Why stop there? Why not mention Quantum Physics?
Superstitious and enthusiastic beliefs
e.g. not stepping under a ladder or running to find the pot of gold at rainbow's end while chortling with glee
are ideological, because they arise out of the passions, in particular hope and fear, rather than reason.
Jason does not understand that for most people in the world today having an ideology is about as important as having a coat of arms or a personal shaman.
He himself seems to have a superstitious belief that 'propaganda' is prowling around doing horrible things. Perhaps he hopes this worthless tome will contribute to keeping that monster at bay.
To be clear, he thinks even speaking persuasively in a good cause is bound to have bad consequences coz like that might be propaganda- right?
Let’s take a recent example of propaganda in a liberal democracy that was delivered for a beneficial goal. The example comes from a recent New York Times piece I wrote with my brother, the economist Marcus Stanley. US fiscal policy involves the ways in which the US government funds its own debt.
No. Fiscal policy, is the use of tax and spending to achieve macroeconomic goals. If the Fed, which is independent but under Congressional oversight, finances the deficit by printing money (or reduces debt in the same way) then that action is part of 'monetary policy'. It impacts the interest rate, inflationary expectations, hot money flows and thus the exchange rate etc.
The expression “the fiscal cliff” was introduced to the broader public by Ben Bernanke,
I think it had already been taken up by analysts.
the chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States, in February 2012 to describe the threat to the recovering economy posed by the confluence of two events. First, Congress was again facing their repeated promise to restore income taxes to their levels during the Clinton presidency in order to reduce the deficit. Secondly, Congress was simultaneously facing large self-imposed spending cuts (the so-called sequester).
The Fed said ' Uncertainties about fiscal policy, notably about the resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff and the lifting of the debt ceiling, are probably also restraining activity, although the magnitudes of these effects are hard to judge.30 It is critical that fiscal policymakers put in place a credible plan that sets the federal budget on a sustainable trajectory in the medium and longer runs. However, policymakers should take care to avoid a sharp near-term fiscal contraction that could endanger the recovery.'
This was perfectly sensible.
Why is Jason getting his knickers in a twist about this?
Curiously, however, a poll found that 47 percent of the public thought that it was going over the “cliff” that would result in higher deficits.
The economy can contract faster than the deficit which increases the debt burden. That's how recessions turn into Great Depressions.
Only 14 percent understood that it would reduce deficits.
It might have done but then again it might not. Suppose Obama had got out of Afghanistan and Iraq and stopped other such unproductive spending, then- sure- you have a reduced debt burden (which is what matters) but that wasn't the only possible outcome. Suppose Obama decided to pay for the war in some 'creative' way- or just suppose the Fed were a bunch of racists who liked 'Forever wars' against Muslims and thus they just printed the money to pay for the troops- then the picture would be quite different.
In fact, it would have reduced them drastically, effectively eliminating the deficit problem
Debt servicing is a problem. Deficits don't matter in themselves. This period preceded what was referred to as the 'taper tantrum' era- i.e. market jitters about an easing off on bond buying.
American officials tend to have a thorough knowledge of the Constitution- or at least very good legal advise- and are very careful of Congressional and Executive privilege. Mention of the 'fiscal cliff' might be considered 'emotive' or an overstepping of a constitutional boundary but, in the event, no action was taken by a Chamber jealous of its privileges. Thus, as far as international markets were concerned, this was mere hand waving to the effect that politicians mustn't fuck up the recovery for silly reasons. Bernanke's monetary policy was accommodative but this didn't mean the Fed should indulge Congressmen intent on throwing a monkey wrench in Fiscal policy just because they feel like it. The Fed Chairman doesn't need to worry about voters. But Congress does. The voters might punish them if they didn't play nice.
As for the public's 'beliefs'- they are irrelevant. The plain question is- would voters be adversely affected if fiscal policy wasn't sensible? The answer is- yes. Why? Because if your legislators act in a silly way, people think your country will pay a price. Expectations create reality. But this is also the reason CEOs should not run around naked with a radish up their arse. People would be less inclined to trust the company. The reason the public doesn't need to worry about stuff like this is because Legislators know voters get angry if the Economy turns to shit. They will be looking for someone to punish come election day. That's all that is required for the system to work well enough.
No doubt, from Jason's ideological perspective, 'propaganda' is very evil coz it prevents people from running around naked screaming incoherently with a radish up their arse. But it isn't really propaganda which is causing this. It's just the way Society works. If you want to keep a well paying job there are some sacrifices you have to make- e.g. not getting naked and shoving a radish up your arse whenever you feel like blowing off steam.
Describing the process by which the US government funds its activities as involving “borrowing” suggests a false analogy between government borrowing and the borrowing an individual or a family does.
No. It is exactly the same.
The analogy makes some sense for a public entity that does not print its own currency—for example, the state of California or the (Euro-employing) country of Greece.
This is irrelevant. What matters is whether scrip issued by an entity is expected to maintain its value. If the thing is liquid at par, it is money. America has an independent Federal Reserve which issues currency and is supposed to maintain the value of that currency subject to Congressional oversight. If the market thinks the Fed will print money to finance a deficit then the currency depreciates. But this is exactly what happens to scrip or other such obligations to pay associated with an entity whose creditworthiness is in question. Of course, if some new development causes us to believe that its revenues are going to rise significantly then the value of the scrip goes back to par.
And the analogy also made much more sense during the true gold standard era in this country. For these reasons, and because the government does issue bonds that look like corporate bonds, the vocabulary is entrenched. But a government borrowing in a currency it controls (and can print) has little in common with the borrowing we experience as ordinary citizens.
This is not the case. A government can't buy anything with its own currency, if no one has confidence in it, save from its own people- whom it could simply rob through taxation if it so wished- just as I can't buy anything with my promissory notes because everybody knows I'm a shiftless rogue.
This will change when Beyonce anoints me as her successor due to my booty shake is awesome.
Its benefits—creating jobs and income that prevent a self-perpetuating downward spiral in a slack economy—are not benefits associated with private borrowing.
Yes they are. When peeps have confidence in a country, they borrow and invest in it and create jobs and so forth. Governments can kill this golden goose by 'expropriating the expropriators.' If they fritter away what they borrow on white elephant projects, then productivity will slump and there will be a death spiral.
Likewise, its risks—the possibility of inflation, “crowding out” private investment in capital markets, and changing exchange rates—are not factors any individual has experience with through their private borrowing.
Sure we do. The problem with paying your wife not to beat you is that there is an inflationary spiral. Why? She discovers that the exchange value of what you are able to pay her keeps shrinking. She feels cheated even though her beating is you is the reason your joint productivity has gone down. The guy she brings in to help beat you eventually takes pity on you and crowds you out of your apartment.
Similarly, if the Govt. gives in to the Trade Unions' demand for a 10 percent real wage hike and they discover that inflation has eaten most of it and then go on strike till they get a 20 percent hike and so on till there is hyperinflation, then sensible people- both workers and capitalists- get the fuck out of the country.
Sadly, even many experts do not precisely understand the benefits and risks of government financing through deficits.
But this cretin does!
The short-term benefits in terms of jobs and income are clear (just ask any lobbyist who wants to maintain spending on their priorities or avoid taxation of their clients). But while there are certainly risks to excessive government debt, controversy continues to rage about when and how these risks occur and what level of debt will create them.
Why? Because of Knightian Uncertainty. We don't know the future. Collectively we should follow a regret minimizing strategy but that means we can have no cut-and-dried notions of correctness or blameworthiness.
Bernanke was correct to worry about the consequences of so much liquidity evaporating from the US markets in one go.
Why would liquidity evaporate? Aggregate demand would go off a cliff- sure. But in a deflationary scenario nothing stops the Fed pumping in as much liquidity as is needed.
He chose to handle the situation by relying on the false beliefs of the public to communicate alarm.
No he didn't. He did his job. Jason has false beliefs about economic theory. For example doesn't know about 'Ricardian Equivalence'. But it isn't the job of the head of the Fed to correct those false beliefs. Let Jason put his money where his mouth is and lose this shirt same as other crazy folk.
It was demagoguery because it was a message that reinforced the public’s false beliefs about economics, wrapped in the mantle of the sage advice of the Fed chief.
No doubt, QAnon thinks all sorts of scientists are demagogues because they reinforce the public's false beliefs about how the earth is actually round and it goes around the Sun and other such fake news.
As such, it eroded democratic ideals. The consequence of Bernanke’s failure to explain economic reality was that the public remained confused.
Bernanke would have had to resign his job if he wanted to 'explain economic reality'. He fulfilled his duties well enough.
This allowed politicians to continue to employ the fear of a rising deficit for political purposes, leading to a fiscal crisis surrounding the debt ceiling in October 2013, which was later shown to take nearly 1 percent of US GDP (nearly 150 billion dollars) and resulted in the loss of an estimated 750,000 jobs.
This is nonsense. Unemployment kept falling. Afghanistan, around that time was costing about 150 billion dollars.
This can be regarded as some empirical confirmation
despite the fact that it is pure fantasy
of the view evident from democratic political theory that propaganda that exploits democratic ideals, even if wielded for a good purpose, occludes democratic deliberation.
There was no propaganda. There was a Fed report which crossed no line of Constitutional law. If anything improper was done, Bernanke would have been subpoenaed and put through the ringer. Congress is empowered to do 'democratic deliberation'. If anyone lies to it or misleads it in an intentional and material way, they face severe punishment.
Bernanke’s goal in using the phrase “fiscal cliff” was laudable: to move public opinion to avoid a devastating loss of jobs.
This is mad! The Chairman of the Fed as part of his duties gives the views of his team as is by law required. He is not concerned with public opinion. Legislators are concerned with the consequences of decisions they make- if they wish to be re-elected.
But in so doing, he relied on false ideological beliefs about the economy, rather than lucid explanation.
There is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever. Bernanke's beliefs about the economy were based on objective research carried out under the supervision of leading experts. He may have been critical of certain Republicans, though he was originally a Republican, but this was not because he was 'ideological', it was because they were crazy.
Bernanke thus set the stage for the subsequent irrational public deliberation that preceded the debt ceiling crisis in 2013.
Nonsense! Obama, having killed Osama, kept the White House. But Republicans had taken the House and wanted to axe Obamacare. All this had nothing to do with Bernanke. The big question was would voters blame Obama or the Republicans in the House for the shutdown. The general impression- overseas at any rate- was that the Republicans blinked first. However an anger was building which paved the way for Trump.
This is a specific illustration of the risks of demagoguery in a democracy,
where was the demagoguery? Everybody could see 'fiscal cliff' meant Federal workers were put on furlough. Further, those legislators who were responsible for this were risking their own seats. That too was clear. This was not 'fake news'. It was the plain and obvious truth.
even when wielded for a praiseworthy goal. Flawed ideological beliefs corrode rational debate.
Ignorance and fallacious reasoning may render such debate pointless. But this is also the case where no ideology is involved.
In a healthy democracy, the goal of a public official should be to dissolve them, rather than rely on them.
But a public official is acting ultra vires if he pursues a goal other than those specified by law. Perhaps Jason thinks a healthy democracy should not be under the Rule of Law. I
Relying upon them only strengthens them and makes them much more problematic barriers in subsequent debate.
Public officials are not required to rely upon any false or ideological belief. However, these are subjective matters. Speaking generally, we expect a senior public official to resign if she has a good faith belief that something of this sort is required of her.
I have given one specific example of the dangers of propaganda in a liberal democracy.
It was utterly absurd!
The example I gave is one in which false beliefs were supported for a good cause. We have seen how this leads inexorably to later problems with democratic deliberation.
No we haven't.
The truth is 'democratic deliberation' has diminishing returns. There are increasing returns to getting things right quickly. In multidimensional policy spaces there is an Agenda Control of 'McKelvey chaos' problem. But another way to view the thing is as a chain of concurrency deadlocks. There is some mathematical and some empirical work which appears useful in this connection. However, for the nonce, the management of Legislatures remains a dark art. It may involve bullying or bribing or blackmailing. This at any rate is what 'House of Cards' suggested. Still, so long as we can kick out that pack of scoundrels every few years, we seem to have no other alternative.
What is certain is that the opinions of cretinous Academics would be actively mischievous if they were not so patently ignorant and absurd.