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(The following is a comment by David K. Williams, and my response to it, on the same Facebook thread excerpted in A Frustrated Rant On A Right-Wing Facebook Thread.)

David K. Williams said:

All of your dissembling is merely a justification for the forcible implementation of your “good ideas” (after all the studying and deliberating is done) on those that do not wish to have them implemented. That is immoral.

Individual autonomy is very dangerous, indeed. So dangerous, the statists that do all of your studying and deliberating fear it.

The “progressive” movement you describe of Woodrow Wilson and FDR (and Teddy Roosevelt, for that matter) is all about the learned intellectuals with Ph.Ds knowing what is best for everyone and implementing plans via government force. I think you and I can agree with that.

You just happen to believe in the wisdom of the intellectuals. I do not. History is not on your side.

1) We are interdependent, and live within a society which imposes formal and informal constraints on us as an inherent fact of reality. You are no less trying to “forcibly implement your good ideas” on others than I am, because you are arguing for a particular public policy regime, with particular implications. You have accepted certain institutions that are founded in force, such as the definition and protection of absolute private property rights, as somehow inherent in nature (when they simply are not, but rather are themselves a political economic artifact), and therefore are blind to the fact that their forcible imposition is no more morally pure than the forcible imposition of some other version of property rights.

Don’t get me wrong: Private property has many virtues, and I defend it as an integral aspect of a well-functioning political economy. But it is NOT a moral imperative, and it is NOT the absence of force!

Private property historically came into being through violent force by some against others, a theft perpetuated across generations through inheritance, and which has implications even today. It is no coincidence that the descendants of former slaves and the former conquered indigenous population of this country are grossly overrepresented among the impoverished of this country; it is the direct consequence of the “morally unassailable” default that you have chosen to worship. Ironically, it not only leads to greater social justice to modify that regime on the margins, it also leads to greater robustness and sustainability in the production of wealth, making it the more reasonable path by all measures.

2) My statement that both too much individual autonomy and too much collectivism are dangerous (using your word) referred to the indisputable fact that error can be found on both extremes. In one moment, you deny any commitment to absolute individual autonomy, and in the next invoke it, playing a shell game rather than making an argument. So let me address the shell you’ve currently placed your pebble under, the one that insists that individual autonomy is an absolute and unassailable good, period. By that logic, individuals would have to be granted the autonomy to murder, rape, steal, drop nuclear weapons on each other, and, in general, engage in any behavior that any individual chooses and finds him or herself able to. That would be a Hobbesian paradise of the war of all against all, and a life “nasty, brutish, and short.” No semi-rational person really believes that that’s the way we should govern ourselves.

So, individual autonomy is a value with limits, a practical reality we have spent our history exploring and defining. Justice Holmes famously said, for instance, that one’s right to free speech doesn’t extend to shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire, because that would be destructive mischief that we, as a society, should and must restrain. Once you recognize that individual autonomy isn’t an absolute ideal, but rather a value to be maximized in balance with other values, then if becomes completely arbitrary to argue from the position of it being an absolute ideal. The debate then becomes one regarding whether it is a value which trumps other considerations in this or that circumstance. You can weight it more or less heavily if you like, but you can’t simply circumvent the discussion of whether in this or that circumstance a commitment to individual autonomy takes priority over a commitment to our ability to function as a society and to continue our lives with some minimal degree of security and tranquility.

Yes, there are wonderful platitudes obfuscating this reality. “Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither.” But does that mean that those who would trade the liberty of individuals to build and use nuclear weapons, or to drive around in tanks armed with the most destructive of weapons, for the security of living in a society governed by the rule of law, deserve neither? No, of course not. The challenge of drawing the line continues to exist, and your insistence that it be drawn far to one side cannot be defended by any platitude or any absolute value, because even you recognize that the line does indeed need to be drawn. You are insisting on drawing it arbitrarily at one extreme. But you have no argument other than a blind religious zeal that insists that that’s where it should be drawn, a zeal which carefully dismisses all thought and analysis as the mischief of intellectuals.

3) What I advocate isn’t some pre-packaged idea that you can refer to and dismiss, but rather the notion that we should ALL strive to exercise reason and universal goodwill to the best of our ability, and to govern OURSELVES by recourse to disciplined and procedurally sound reason and goodwill to the best of our ability. Just as in all human endeavors, we do benefit from a division of labors, but it is a division of labors within the context of a democracy, in which competing interests and competing views have ample opportunity to make their case, and to advocate for their position. Ph.D.s shouldn’t have any final word, though neither should their particular expertises be thrown overboard for fear that the inclusion of expertise in our national discourse is somehow antidemocratic.

We do indeed need to include professional understandings of complex phenomena in our public policy formation, because there are in fact a multitude of complex physical, economic, geological, hydrological, and generally systemic phenomena implicated in our shared existence. The anti-intellectualism of insisting that all specialized knowledge is anathema to human welfare if ever employed in our endeavor of self-governance is so patently absurd, I marvel that anyone can continue to argue it.

4) History isn’t on my side in asserting that the product of intellectual endeavors can and does serve our collective interests? Really? Our modern, industrial, science-based, technological economy is something that most people would prefer to toss aside in favor of a pre-industrial, pre-modern existence? So, at least in some spheres of our shared existence, you would agree that intellectual endeavors have borne fruit, no?

The question is whether that general truth (that intellectual endeavors contribute to our collective welfare) applies to our self-governance. The historical evidence, despite your selective insistence to the contrary, strongly demonstrates that it does. The post-WWII economic boom, experienced only by those nations that had put in place a modern, research-oriented, procedurally heavy, scientifically enriched (complete with advisory panels to deal with all aspects of our existence) administrative infrastructure, proves me wrong? You are conveniently selective in your review of human history, serving not well-reasoned and well-evidenced conclusions, but rather only a blind ideology.

Your conclusion that “history proves me wrong” is based on selecting those instances in which some intellectual doctrine has been implemented, and has been a failure, while neglecting to include any examination of those instances in which anti-intellectual doctrines have been implemented and have been failures, or those instances in which intellectual doctrines have been implemented and have been successes (including the intellectual doctrines at the heart of the U.S. Constitution, which drew heavily on Enlightenment era intellectual thought).

You are correct that intellectualism is no guarantee of success, but wrong that its inclusion, on average, leads to inferior results than its exclusion. Even the most spectacular of failed intellectual doctrines -Marxism- was not the only intellectual doctrine, or even the dominant economic doctrine, of its day (which means that competing intellectual doctrines, when and where they were implemented, led to far superior outcomes). And it is just one example of failure, cited in a vacuum. By the same logic, one could argue that human flight is impossible, because some attempts at it have failed, or that surgery is always fatal, because I can cite examples of when it has been fatal. It is such an absurd logical fallacy that, again, the marvel is that you are able to rely on it so heavily.

Furthermore, the anti-intellectualism that you espouse has a far worse track record than the intellectualism that I espouse. Though Marxism started out as an intellectual doctrine, once implemented in service to totalitarianism, it too became anti-intellectual in its orientation, persecuting intellectuals who, en masse, were active in opposing the totalitarianism in its name. In all of the totalitarian societies you cite -Soviet Russia, Nazi German, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Islamic Fundamentalist states- the governments have shared with you your anti-intellectual bias, and have persecuted rather than deferred to intellectuals in service to it.

No, we are not freed from the challenge of life on Earth by deference to intellectuals. But we would be wise to increase the efficacy of our participation in those endeavors by ever-greater inclusion of intellectual discipline, emulating our Founding Fathers and the spectacular success they achieved. Given a choice between haphazard, relatively unexamined popular assumptions, and carefully arrived at, procedurally disciplined, sensibly tentative understandings, while the former can be right and the latter wrong in any given instance, on average the latter will outperform the former. Greater good is produced in the long run, wiser decisions arrived at, by all of us paying close attention to those procedurally disciplined understandings, and forming our own understandings with a certain degree of respect for the disciplines that have proven themselves most effective at reducing error and increasing accuracy. Again, the notion that wiser conclusions are formed by avoiding such methodologies flies in the face of our historical experience, rather than being proven by it, to an extent that borders on insanity.

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  • (The following are excerpts from an exchange further down the same thread, in which avowed Confederate Buddy Shipley, who in one such exchange with me denounced the Union’s prosecution of the Civil War, well represents his fellow Libertarians, though he is actually more moderate on some points than are many of his comrades. I deleted the long strings of quotes which Buddy, as if he is citing scripture, relies on to “prove” his points, and focused instead on the actual dialogue between us, and edited or added to some of my own comments for increased clarity):

    Buddy Shipley Steve, while you repeat your empty yet overly-verbose and arrogant ideological assertions, I provide you with the the REAL WORLD EVIDENCE — from California and Washington D.C to Greece and Spain and Portugal! — that ALL of your “economic and historical analyses” are complete sh!t and everything you and your Liberal Comrades believe is wrong. Everyone is welcome to their own opinions, but not their own facts, and your “facts” are just opinions.

    Buddy Shipley The U.S. Constitution was drafted to be stronger than the Article of Confederation, but still with FINITE and limited, enumerated powers, and clearly assigning ALL other powers to the States and to the People.

    Our federal government has CLEARLY exceeded its Constitutional authority and needs to be beaten back into submission, within the confines of its Constitutionally proscribed boundaries. We The People are being gang-raped by the federal government. It is well past time for the States to stand up and assert their sovereignty.

    Steve Harvey Yes, with finite enumerated powers, including the power to tax and spend in the general welfare, and whose provisions are subject to judicial review (as established by Chief Justice Marshall in the early 19th century) rather than arbitrary interpretation by each according to his or her own whim or inclination. According to that process of judicial review, exercised with excrutiating precision and discipline, our federal government operates in precise accord with the Constitutional authority that created and underwrites it.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s an infallible process, and that there is no role for us, as the popular sovereign, in being vigilant that it continues to work within a certain range of acceptibility. But part of the success of this nation is built on having tried to remove judicial decision-making from political whims, an ideal that can only be achieved in part, but whose partial achievement has great value. I don’t agree with every Supreme Court ruling, but I do agree with the process and accept those rulings that I disagree with as a part of the bargain of living in this system that works remarkably well in comparison to most alternatives that human history has yet produced.

    You, conversely, belong to an ideological school which has the hubris to wish to impose it’s own dogmatic certainties over and above the products of this process we have instituted and refined over the more than two centuries of our existence as a nation. It’s not the substance of your beliefs which are most disconcerting (though I am glad to continue to point out, in excruciating detail, with endless empirical and logical support, the overwhelming folly of those beliefs), but the degree to which you rely on angry fanaticism as a political tool, a tool which has often, historically, derailed democratic processes rather than worked well within them. The anti-intellectualism that you and David espouse is the constant companion of such movements, for they are movements in service to irrationality and belligerence, two intertwined forces of history which reason stands against.

    You are in the habit of declaring that whatever you hold to be true is “clear,” by which you mean the only admissible truth, though many who are at least as informed as you sincerely disagree. So what you REALLY stand for is the overthrow of our Constitutional society, because we have established within its framework a system by which to make the determinations that you now insist only those who share your ideology are qualified to make. You are subversives pretending to be patriots, anti-Consitutionalists ignoring the real document and instead insisting on displacing it with your ideologically contracted understanding of what it stands for.

    I would gladly defer to a process which applies reason to evidence in service to humanity, and am an advocate of nothing more than that. But that is precisely what you stand in opposition to, because reason and humanity are your enemies. That alone should set off alarm bells in your mind, for I know that you don’t explicitly identify yourself as an enemy of reason and humanity, but rather insist that your ideology alone serves it, while carefully insulating your ideology from it. But that insulation includes insulation against the cognitive dissonance that any iota of self-awareness would impose upon you, and so you continue blithely on your way.

    Steve Harvey As for your economic analysis, again, it is selective in every way. First of all, you fail to site Germany, whose economy is more “socialist” than ours, but which has been stronger since the 1960s than ours, and was less effected by, and recovered more quickly from, the recent economic downturn. You engage in the fallacy of claiming that specific examples prove specific points without having isolated the variables: Many factors are involved in the instances of economic crisis that you cite, and I can as easily argue that they are the result of right wing reactionary politics as they are the result of left wing policies, since both are in play (the truth is that they are reducible to neither, but are the result of a confluence of policies and events, not some broad brushstroke ideological certainty that is as disproven by specific examples as it is supported by them).

    The economic reality is that we live in the most prosperous of civilizations in the history of the world, comprised exclusively of nations that have failed to heed your advice, there being not a single example in the history of the world of any nation achieving comparable levels of prosperity by following the model that you arbitrarily (and even somewhat insanely) insist is the only one on which prosperity can be based! You are a group of people subscribing to a collective delusion that you find emotionally gratifying, and that you are eager to impose on the rest of us to our immense collective detriment, and you merit as much disdain as rational people can manage to heap upon you, because you are nothing more than the modern incarnation of the Inquisition, of Medieval ignorance reorganized to again saddle those who think and reason and pursue functional and fair and well considered policies with what has always been and will always be humanity’s greatest enemy: Itself, in the form of ignorant fanatics who argue that reason leads to folly and that folly is the only source of reason.

    You’re a bunch of fools, which would be just fine, if you weren’t fools hell bent on imposing your folly on a world that will suffer thousands of times more for it than we have ever suffered for any war or terrorist attack.

    Buddy Shipley As usual, Steve, you refuse to acknowledge ANY limits to “General Welfare” spending, or that the term has been expanded to mean anything and everything not explicitly included in the enumerated powers, rendering the powers of Congress unlimited rather than limited — an absolute contradiction that has landed us in the current economic crisis (the REAL WORLD REALITY that I referred to earlier).

    Steve Harvey Wrong, Buddy: I refuse to empower Buddy Shipley with the authority to determine for all of us how to interpret that and other clauses of our Constitution, when we have a two-centuries old system for doing so on which the rule of law in this country is firmly based. Second, if by the current economic crisis you mean the subprime mortgage bubble and subsequent financial sector meltdown, it was the result of underregulated derivatives markets, not relaxed lending standards, a fact demonstrated repeatedly by every economic analysis done on the matter, and evidenced by the fact that lenders were routinely fudging loan applications to make loans to those who did not even qualify under the relaxed standards. As a result of the deficit of government involvement, lenders were able to divorce risk from returns, so that no matter how risky the loan, it was profitable for them to make it.

    If you are referring to the debt crisis, it is true that it will become a crisis if not addressed, but, in its current form, is a politically manufactured crisis. In fact, it is economically unwise to cut public spending during economic downturns. Even the most conservative economists disagree with the blind ideological dogma that we shouldn’t “raise” taxes (or, more accurately, allow excessive tax cuts to sunset on schedule), universally recognizing that any serious attempt to get our escalating debt under control must include increased revenue streams.

    Finally, in the real world, the only model that has achieved modern levels of prosperity is the one you so vociferously reject, while insisting that your ideal is what would really work best. This makes you, not those you revile, the hiers of Bolshevicks and other fools, because you believe that imposing your untested mania on the world would save current Western Civilization from the suffering of merely being the most prosperous civilization in the history of the world. I wish you were serious about anchoring yourself in the real world; if so, you would give up your fanaticism, and turn instead to the task of pragmatic, balanced, well-reasoned self-governance.

    Buddy Shipley Get a job.

    Buddy Shipley Dumbasses who refuse to learn from history doom us all to relive its failures.

    Buddy Shipley So how much is enough??? You seem to believe taxes should be higher and that there is no limit to the things government may undertake in the name of “benevolence.”

    Steve Harvey Buddy, I’m all for a robust dialogue in which the ideas you are advocating are well represented and voiced. I’m against the insistance that only your voice need be considered, and that our public discourse should consist of you insisting that only you know the one truth, and all others are simply wrong. There is indeed many subtle and complex issues to address regarding various balances to be struck. Let’s have that dialogue, without all of the blind ideological fanaticism, but rather with a real commitment to reason (which David has already stated he opposes).

    Buddy Shipley HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH??? Liberals will NEVER say!

    Buddy Shipley Some environmental regulation is a good thing, and we already have plenty of regulations and regulatory agencies that have continually grown and expanded their scope, and their budgets, and have now become a burden on the society they were established to protect. How much is enough?

    Buddy Shipley Same for “labour protection” and unions — this has been going on for over a century. At one time labor unions served a purpose in collective bargaining, they helped get legislation in place to ensure occupational safety & health, higher wages and more and more benefits, ad infinitum. Now that all this has been achieved, why do unions STILL exist? Why do employees continue to give up a portion of their pay every week to fund unions year after year, for decades?! Their mission was accomplished DECADES ago, time to go away. The primary mission of unions today is to keep funding the unions — unions are parasites that eventually kill their host. How much is enough?

    Steve Harvey I won’t say, because I don’t try to impose some oversimplistic idea on all policy deliberations now and in the future. How much is enough depends on a contextualized analysis, not a clumsy and ill-reasoned assumption applied to all circumstances without any logic or empirical analysis. I’m glad you allow that there once was some purpose to labor unions, and that some environmental regulations are necessary. Now allow that you are not omniscient, and do not know exactly where to draw the line. This is what it means to live in a Constitutional Participant Democracy, in which we each have our various views, and engage with one another in order to arrive at some compromise, hopefully a well-informed and reasonable one.

    But you refuse to engage (other than to rail against “socialists,” by which you mean all but those who share your mania, to declare in one exchange that you are opposed to reason and goodwill because “socialists” are not reasonable and have no goodwill, and so on), and refuse to acknowledge that any view other than yours, down to the last detail, could possibly have any validity. And in that refusal, you sometimes throw around rhetoric about how you’re not going to take it any more, suggesting a dismissal of this rule of law and these processes on which we rely, and which have served us remarkably well.

    Buddy Shipley You are a waste of time and electrons. I do not suffer fools gladly, especially bloviating fools like you.

    Steve Harvey If you are so confident of the wisdom of your positions, why do you and those who share your ideology so rabidly oppose the suggestion that we put all arguments on the table, mobilize all empirical evidence, and use all of the powers of our minds to make the wisest decisions? You always insist that such processes end up leading to “bad” policies, though you neglect that our entire modern world is based squarely on the use of such processes. Let the best ideas prevail, through well-reasone discourse, and when those ideas are the ones you chamption, I will be the first to applaud.

    Steve Harvey Buddy, there is no fool greater than he who insists that only he and his co-religionists are not fools, and that the processes by which rational and responsible people refine our understandings of the world and devise the policies by which we govern ourselves are beneath him, while his arbitrary manias alone are representative of that which is not folly. Wisdom depends on the humility to recognize that the world is almost infinitely complex and subtle, while our minds, as wonderful as they are, are more limited. By recognizing that, you recognize that what you think you know is similar in quality to what others think they know, differentiated only by the degree of discipline applied to their realization, and your insistence that what you think you know is superior in the absence of such discipline is itself the greatest of all acts of folly.

    While I continue to focus on the processes by which we arrive at our understandings and by which we govern ourselves, you are unable to look past your own shallow and information-starved false certainties. On any given substantive issue, I may be wrong or right, but on the central issue that all we have to guide us is our own faculties, organized to maximum effect, is so thoroughly proven by both history and even the slightest nod to reason that it is the one thing on which we should all agree, and all subject ourselves to.

    Isn’t it true that Islamic Fundamentalists and Christian Fundamentalist are equally, though incompatibly, certain of the absolute and exclusive truth of their doctrines? Isn’t it true that Left wing ideologues and Right wing ideologues are equally, though incompatibly, certain of the absolute and exclusive truth of their respective doctrines? Aren’t you capable of just that tiny spark of reason which reveals that to adhere to any such ideological certainty is to engage in an inherent folly, that it is a human foible to which most surrender but which serves ignorance and suffering and strife and incompetence rather than their opposites?

    Be wise enough to know that you are not all knowing, that just because you belong to an ideological camp that is certain of its own infallibility does not in reality prove that infallibility. Be wise enough to participate with humility and wisdom and compassion and decency in the ongoing human endeavor. Or be the modern version of the Medieval pontificator portrayed so deftly by Monte Python in “The Holy Grael,” who argues in circles about why a woman accused of being a witch is a witch, proving only his own contempt for reason.

  • (The thread continues:)

    David K Williams Jr here is the reality of your insistence of “central planning:” http://rationalrevolution.net/war/maoist_china.htm

    Steve Harvey I don’t insist on “central planning,” David. I insist on non-fanatical, well reasoned self-governance which involves a combination of market forces and administrative engagement, which is the only political economic form which has underwritten the explosion of modern wealth, no nation not utilizing that combination ever having achieved modern levels of wealth and freedom.

    You can keep citing political economic forms that bear no resemblance to what any American is currently advocating, and call it proof that those who disagree with you are wrong, or you can engage in an informed and mutually informative discussion rooted in reality. I know which choice you and yours are determined to make, but it doesn’t make it any more authentic.

    Calling for a closure of the tax loophole which gives corporate ownership of private jets an extra-market advantage over commercial airlines ISN’T an insistence on becoming a Maoist state. Mere repetition of that kind of nonsense hopefully will only succeed in continuing to make you appear to more and more people as ridiculous and out-of-touch-with-reality as you in fact are.

    You’re argument is akin to insisting that the use of fire to, say, cook your hamburgers is clearly a destructive thing, since fire can burn down forests and cities. Yes, overly centralized governments are a horrible thing, just as underly-centralized governments are (see: Somalia). Neither fact is an argument for or against any particular use of government somewhere in the middle, which is where all sane states should be, and which involves tackling specific, information-intensive, detail-oriented questions, rather than addressing them all with a blind ideological sledgehammer tending toward one extreme or the other.

    The irony is that you are the one arguing the position that promises to mimic the horrors of Maoist China, and Soviet Russia, and Nazi Germany, and Somalia, and every other society that has spun downward into the throes of an irrational, anti-intellectual, anti-empirical, anti-gradual-historical-progress ideology. You delude yourself that the problem with such societies is too much government (sometimes it is, sometimes it’s the opposite), when in reality the problem is blind fanaticism, rejection of accumulated knowledge and a restrained, balanced, incrementalist, participatory-organic flow of historical change.

    You are the one committed to undermining the social institutional material that has evolved over millenia, really, and continues to evolve constantly, embedding within itself an amount of information and sophistication that we can barely track let alone exceed, and replacing that with your own shriveled up false certainties, just like Mao, just like Stalin, just like Hitler. The irony is excrutiating, and all the more so for the horrors that you are courting, not just for yourself, but for my children, and my neighbors’ children, all in service to a blind and mindless fanaticism.

    David K Williams: Yes, Steve, day is night, white is black and war is peace. Of course.

    Steve Harvey No, David. Reason is reason, history is history, evidence is evidence, and rational, humane, historically informed, pragmatic governance is rational, humane, historically informed, pragmatic governance. It’s your perceptions of reality that are inverted, not reality itself, or my representation of it.

    The fact (that you keep disregarding) is that all modern developed nations, all nations that enjoy the highest degree of liberty and checks on governmental oppression in the history of the world -every last one of them- have large administrative states, and had large administrative states in place before participating in the explosive post WWII expansion of wealth in which we shared. Yet you claim that history disproves that such nations can ever prosper, or support individual liberty?!?! There’s your “day is night, white is black, and war is peace,” David. There’s your inverted reality.

    Your ideology is the one that led to the early failure of the United States, and the need to address it with a Constitutional Conventional that put into place a document supporting a stronger federal government, with the capacity to meet the challenges that would face it. Your ideology is the one that authored The Civil War, demonstrating that a weak federal government can foster localized oppression of the most horrendous kind, and national disintegration, unless remedied by sufficient centralization of governmental authority to hold the country together and secure the rights of individuals whose rights would otherwise be denied.

    Your ideology rationalized Jim Crow, opposing that federal protection and advancement in the protection of individual rights blithely disregarded by those infallible non-federal concentrations of power. Your ideology is the one that accelerated the country’s fall into, and delayed the country’s recovery from, The Great Depression, as Hoover was drastically cutting taxes in the years leading up to The Great Depression, and continued to even as the economy was already spiralling downward, accelerating that decent he had already catalyzed, exactly what you and yours insist we do today. (By contrast, despite your amazing revisionism, The New Deal created historically unprecedented growth from 1934 until 1937, when FDR unwisely yielded to deficit hawks and cut spending. Therefore, not until the massive public spending project known as WWII did we come out of the Depression completely).

    You repeat your revisionist history so often and so passionately that you have no trouble accepting it as gospel, despite the pesky little detail that it is absolutely refuted by the historical record.

    Another way in which your ideology catalyzed both the Great Depression and our more recent economic crash is by creating a power vacuum filled by predatory financial and corporate interests. The Great Depression was in part a consequence of underregulated markets, which allowed corrupt banking practices to proliferate, creating a context of economic fragility worldwide.

    Similarly, your refusal to recognize the essential role of government in policing and regulating markets led to the subprime bubble and the financial sector collapse of 2008. The argument that the subprime mortgage bubble was a consequence of relaxed lending standards put into place by Democrats to allow more people to afford homes of their own is contradicted by the fact of widespread corrupt lending practices, with lenders doing everything possible to push loans through even if borrowers failed to meet those relaxed standards. This was because the underregulation of derivative markets led to the divorce of risk from profit, making even the most risky loans profitable to the lenders (since the risk would be sold off in the form of derivatives, to others to whom that risk was made invisible by its packaging within complex, opaque derivatives).

    In other words, while the loosened lending standard did contribute marginally to the subprime meltdown, as a contributing factor it was vastly outstripped by the underregulation of derivative markets. Day is day, night is night, white is white, war is war, and your ideology is irrational, historically discredited, counterfactual, and socially and economically destructive to the nation.

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