The merit class Archives

April 6, 2007

A simple matter of programming

Technocracy -- now that's a vintage meme: turn the helm over to some engineers and let 'em give us a technical fix, maybe even a green one.

Enter Barry Lynn, a "senior fellow" at the sinister New America Foundation:

... with a cry for sanity. Our fast-globalizing system is becoming ever more "fragile", more vulnerable to devastating blows, if a few key supply links get snipped.

The industrialist grasps the idea of fragility immediately, and often offers up fresh tales of production shutdowns and close calls. Indeed, industrial fragility has quietly emerged as perhaps the single biggest operational concern of business today, reflected in a boom in programs to study supply chain risk at places like MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Penn’s Wharton School.

The economist, by contrast, just as swiftly rejects the idea of such fragility outright. Why? Because no industrialist, the economist will declare, would ever take such a risk. Industrialists who say that market pressures force them to take too much risk are simply seeking protection. They are selfish, or lazy.

Sooo... we need a team of logistical wizards to do a flow diagram, showing all the weak channels, bottlenecks, and power points, so this emerging train-wreck scenario don't become tomorrow's dead certainty.

Wow. Post-partisan expert action -- that's the ticket. Let the merit class steer us between the Scylla and Charybdis of the plunder class and the Great Uneducated.

Folks, if the two main economic classes are about to collide -- and they may well be -- then we all oughta be ready for more of this Walter Mitty imagineering.

Politics-free snake oil sounds mighty tempting when you're "the man in the middle."

June 7, 2007

Mighty wind a-blowin'

I'm a sometime fan of the Lardner clan. Here's a recent book review by James of that ilk, on the world of today as controlled by the TNCs, with their ghastly set of hidden bottom lines:

Most Americans are troubled by the culture of dealmaking and financial engineering and insider self-enrichment.... by the callous treatment of workers and work life.... by the erosion of communities and community institutions.... Not very far below the political surface, most of us feel some version of the same vexed ambivalence toward corporate America -- dazzled by the conveniences and comforts it delivers, yet resentful of the tradeoffs that it continually demands....
Not bad, eh? The piece throughout reads like its author feels that after 30 years of ever-further separation from our lower-order brothers and sisters, we precious winners, we over-rewarded few, are getting the merit-class blues. About time if so.

I think his last shot catches this moment in America well, as the brewing winds of job site rebellion start reaching higher up the class tower, toward the penthouse corporate goblins, and out into the still nominally independent offices, labs, studios, and campuses of all our wonderfully creative symbol makers and shakers. is hard to imagine... a fundamental transformation of these giant institutions. It is even harder to imagine a better world in which they remain essentially what they are.

June 9, 2007

The turd, Reich

Meet America's top class warrior, according to Dean Baker:

Title: "Robert Reich Is Scared of Competing With Smart Immigrants."

Yes, the main enemy on the Dean's list is not seven seas-worthy corporate buccanneers, it's our stay-at-home hyper-meritoids, like Sir Bobby Reich, the pint-sized prog knight, formerly of Clinton round table I. A guy with a reputation for lifetime goo-goo kindness to his lessers, a corner man, even, for all us lowly wagelingers.

But here's Baker's take on Bob: sure, guys like him want to comp and restore all our millions of bloodied and bowed prolios, all of us that got, are getting, and are yet to get jobsapped by "the blunt edge of globality."

Indeed it is Bobby's M.O.: make 'em as whole as can be, and then toss 'em right back in the open trade ring for another round of "take this, you fat yankee swine."

To be perfectly fair -- which Dean ain't -- Bobby's no Greg Mankiw. Hell, if some poor battered wage stiff had the Mank in his corner, he'd get filled with nothing but Wall Street moonshine. "Forget that shutup eye, and the river of blood running down into your mouth and the broken right hand... yer killin' him, Homer... plain killin' him... why, one more round like the last, and Mr Fast Foot Work Wonton over there'll be nose deep in the canvas."

That's not Bobby's way. Bobby cries for us and binds our wounds like Walt Whitman. But still there is no possible "no mas" in the Bobby playbook. And here's the rub, sez Dean: Reich has a double standard -- one for us dimbo wageryites, and another for his beloved brainery.

Take Reich on the proposed new merit-ranked immigration quotas. Here's Baker:

...when it comes to policies that could tilt the playing field the other way, so that less educated workers benefit from immigration (lower wages for highly-educated workers, means lower prices for the goods and services they produce and therefore higher real wages for those in the middle and bottom) Reich gets on Marketplace Radio to denounce them.
Sure enough, Dean is onto some heavy merit class hypocrisy here. But should this deep "other" class truth be a basis for a wedge?

I say no. I say all us doughfaced proles and plebs oughta accept any "class acts" we can get on our side -- just so long as they follow us and don't try to lead the parade, as is their mommy's dream for them.

To me, baiting the success progs from down here at street level is a fools' game. Badgering doctors and lawyers and professors and other such highly credentialed frauds is no way to focus a movement against corporate-sponsored wide-open borders. I say, let 'em keep their gates closed -- if they can -- but let's find an answer to all our woes, one that lifts all "working boats" at once, like perpetually chockfull employment, and a dollar sunk so low it ain't worth a third what it's worth today over there in South world.

I hear the hoarse demotic bellow, "bring 'em down! If we can't climb, at least we can knock those high and mighty windsurfers off their pedestals." I hear and sympathize. But getting us to try and spread the misery is the final tower troll monty.

Haven't we, at least since Nixon, been cheering every time mister secular halo takes one on the snoot in the public square? And where's that got us?

Dean's wrong precisely for being so right. so far the merits have not felt the lash, but that is about to change, if it hasn't already. The merits are becoming our natural allies. Their platinum number's already being carefully punched, and they know it. TNC America is on a 35-year roll, leaving the bottom 80% dumped and draggled in its wake. But it's also a one-way ticket to hell for another chunk -- an upper chunk, the top 20% of America's jobbery -- and that will not stop 'em. The boardroom course-setters will not change course now. In fact they can't stop themselves -- it's the logic of all bottom lines to keep on lowering costs everywhere and by any means.

And so we end up here, at the moment the next great import onslaught breaks over us, like Sony TV's, Toyotas and tomato pickers before them. This time it's cheap Asian hyper-brains. We are entering the era of the American brain-wave attacks, and they'll crash over our meritoids' heads and keep crashing, until enough of us stand up and shut the floodgates ourselves.

The first huge wave is now on order, and ready to ship our way, if and when the new-model immigration bill escapes the Hill. If it does we'll surely see the beginnings of Dean's revenge, as hundreds of thousands of holier-than-thou symbol-smiths panic and rush toward our mugs' don't-tread-on-me banner.

It's only a matter of time, and plastic surgeons will be elbow to elbow with rubbermaids.

December 7, 2007

They suffer for our sins

Father Smiff on the class of process servers:
"You will find (them) ... firmly planted in existing institutions -- the voting booth, the two-party system, the electoral college, oh and don't forget... the Supreme Court. "
... And why not? Thanks to our intricate contradictory institutional pluralism, The System's most refined subsystems reward them and their merits both materially and morally, even as the larger, coarser subsystems dupe, cheat, and rope-a-dope the miserable majority with a pander's inner glee.

Yes the binge politics of the biz wiz ogres in the end martyrs the meritoids politically. But... ah, to be righteous, and to act righteous, to work hard and think smart, and in the last scene, die in Nixon's arena out there in front of the assembled soul-curdled multitude, peppered with their "et tu Brute" poisoned shafts!

What's not to like -- the System works.

February 22, 2008

Remembering Roman Hruska

This crossed my e-desk today:

They were the kind of kids companies fall over each other trying to hire--smart, personable, hardworking, well-groomed. That they went to Harvard didn't hurt, either. So it was no surprise that by April, most of the seniors in the discussion sections I was leading as a graduate student had jobs lined up after graduation. Nor was the roster of firms: Arthur Andersen, IBM, Morgan Stanley, CBS, Aetna . . . the usual suspects. What was strange was that one company--the country's biggest, in fact--didn't make the list: the federal government.....

If government is to meet our basic expectations, let alone go beyond that to better our lives, it needs creative, intelligent, dedicated people to develop and run its programs.

Man, that's all we need, isn't it? -- more hypercompetent, overachieving bright young sparks from the Ivies in government. As if the US government weren't menace enough already.

Back when Dick Nixon was trying to get the schlubby G Harrold Carswell onto the Supreme Court, the immortal Roman Hruska defended the Presidential choice: "So what if he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there."

At the time I laughed as loud as everybody else about this, but with maturity comes the intimation that maybe Hruska was onto something. Thought experiment: would we be worse off, or better than we are now, if the members of the Supreme Court and the Congress were chosen by lottery? Show your work.

February 23, 2008

Down with the sheepskin

Generalissimo Max von Soundoff here.

We the rubes and flatlanders gotta get off our rumples and demand an end to this Mister Higher Ed steeplechase racket. Go after 'em in Uncle's courts!

we need a groundswell movement -- end all virtual higher ed gauntlets. Let's refuse to fill out that section of the app, and then sue when they don't hire us. Or just sue if they say a college degree is a requirement. Or or or....

Self-evident axiom: it's discrimination to screen job applications for irrelevant years of schooling and degrees, unless direct job requirements can be demonstrated to include XYZ higher school-taught horsefeathers -- and we all know anything picked up past 6th grade, 9 out of 10 times, don't matter a cold French fry one way or the other.

March 19, 2008

Public servitude

Maybe Harvard Law is feeling a little chastened by the disgrace of their prize alum, Eliot Spitzer. Or perhaps the bottom is starting to drop out of the lawyer biz, the way it did out of the doctor biz a few years ago. Not a minute too soon, if so. At any rate, the Johns have a new marketing strategy:
Harvard Law, Hoping Students Will Consider Public Service, Offers Tuition Break

Concerned by the low numbers of law students choosing careers in public service, Harvard Law School plans to waive tuition for third-year students who pledge to spend five years working either for nonprofit organizations or the government.

The program, to be announced Tuesday, would save students more than $40,000 in tuition...

For years, prosecutors, public defenders and lawyers in traditionally low-paying areas of the law have argued that financial pressures were pushing graduates toward corporate law and away from the kind of careers that they would pursue in the absence of tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

“The debt loads that people are coming out of law schools with are now in six figures,” said Joshua Marquis, the... vice president of the National District Attorneys Association. “When the debt load is that great, I have had a lot of applicants who’ve said, ‘I’d like to take the job, but I really can’t afford it.’ ”

Perhaps worse, Mr. Marquis said, some indebted young lawyers who choose to try to survive on a low salary as a junior prosecutor may decide to leave to earn more just as they gain enough experience to handle more important cases.

So let me get this straight -- Harvard is going to pay its bright young sparks to spend five years putting yet more people in jail. This in a country whose incarceration rates currently lead the world, if I recall correctly.

I wonder -- is it possible that this is just some high-minded muffled pretext for a Filene's Basement discount price on a Harvard Law education? Has this priceless sheepskin started to lose its luster?

O how I hope so. Here's my advice to all you young people out there: avoid the Harvard anointment as you would avoid buying a house, and for the same reason -- the bubble may just have burst. You don't want to end up with negative equity, and the sliding price says Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

And whatever you do, stay out of "public service". You don't need the public, and man, they don't need you.

March 20, 2008

Lighting out for the Territory

We run three long-term detention systems here in America.

The prison system, openly so called, as we all know is booming. But one of the other two is not cooking up much except its own books.

Seems our Dewey or don't-we school system is actually running much higher escape rates than previously acknowleged. Somewhere around 30% to 40% of inmates drop out of each cohort prior to serving their full 12 year stretch.

Bravo. Let's shoot for half free by 16.

And the third detention system? 'Ceptin vampires of course, it seems to be holding its own -- R.I.P. brothers and sisters.

May 13, 2008

Sweetened Strychnine

Courtesy of these folks, who went ahead and endorsed him anyway.

November 11, 2008

Smart 'Bama

I happened to overhear an elevator conversation recently, between two of my neighbors. They were talking about the election -- when, I wonder, will anybody on the West Side start to talk about anything else?

Neighbor A: "At least Obama is intelligent. Bush was such a... dummy."
Neighbor B: "That is SO true. Thank God!"

Got me thinking. I've heard this intelligence trope a lot. What does it presuppose?

You want your lawyer to be smart. If you hire a computer programmer, you want him or her to be smart (unless the job includes Javascript, which a smart person won't write). And so on.

Wanting a smart president, then, goes along with another trope: that the presidency is a "job." And of course (unlike people who actually make hiring decisions, in the real world) we want the best man -- or woman, as the case may be -- for the job.

What exactly is the job description? Administrator of the global empire, right? Required skills: bland hypocrisy, experience with mass murder....

All of which makes me think I'd rather have a "dummy" in the job. It's not, actually, a job I want to see done well.

I made this point recently to another neighbor of mine -- call her Lyle. West Siders are nothing if not quick. Lyle shot back, "You just had eight years of the biggest dummy in US history. Did that make you happy?"

Now factually, I don't think she's right about Bush. She's deceived -- as New Yorkers often are -- by the hick accent. Who knows what Bush is really like? But the carefully-contrived persona to which both she, and the people who voted for him, are responding, is not that of a dummy, but of a sly and crafty peckerwood anti-intellectual, quite a different matter. Lyle mistakenly believes that a peckerwood anti-intellectual must be dumb -- it's her New York provincialism coming out. And it must be noted that if this Administration was run by dummies, it nevertheless strangely succeeded -- with a good deal of help from the Democrats, to be sure -- in doing exactly what it wanted to do.

Still. Let's grant Lyle's point, arguendo. I didn't have a response ready at the time, but pondering the matter later, I realized that I wasn't all that happy after the presidencies of the two officially-certified Brainiac presidents in my lifetime, Carter and Clinton. (Nixon was smart too, but poorly educated and crazy as a bedbug, so he's in a class by himself.)

Smart as they undoubtedly were, they left very unsatisfactory records behind them -- unsatisfactory to me, anyway, happy though others may have been -- and more to the point, these two mighty intellects paved the way for Reagan and Bush II respectively.

So how important is intelligence in a president? It depends, I suppose, on what you're looking for. Here I must return to a favorite theme: to wit, that people like Lyle and my neighbors in the elevator, when they go to vote, are mostly looking for someone they can recognize as a person like themselves. In the case of my neighbors, this would be a smart person, with a reasonably good education (as these things go), with some regard for culture, and above all -- no fucking hick accent.

January 12, 2009

Reflections on the crisis in American liberalism

Every time liberals win an election, a victory defined as a shoveling a Democrat into office, their intellectuals indulge in an odd, portentous imputation. They believe that the conservatives have lost in a very significant, very meaningful way, and that this loss is attributable to some dramatic failure in the conservatives' onto/epistemo constructs. They write well and often insightfully, but what it boils down to is that the conservatives have lost because they have bad cess in their heads, the poor things, and the bad cess has interacted with numinous forces to cause their defeat. It follows, then, in a scholarly enthymematic progression, that liberals have won because they have good stuff in their heads. The numinous forces have smiled. Needless to say, the conservative intellectuals indulge in the same game. However more of them get paid, they get paid more, they say "emergent" less often and they have a better understanding of their place in the food chain. They too elide a systemic critique, but more of them understand that's a job requirement.

In the recent election, the victorious liberal candidate out-fundraised, out-organized, out-charmed and out-maneuvered everyone who got between him and the presidency. There was no epochal clash of ideologies. An enormously talented, very good looking man sailed right by a sad collection of mentally unbalanced hacks, in his own party. On paper, his policies were quite similar to theirs. He was, simply, the better politician.

His conservative opponent had been delivered a bed shat in over eight years by Cheney-Bush and measured for him by Corporate Procrustes, who was determined to make sure it never fit, no matter how hard the poor sap abased himself. He had no principles left after a lifetime in politics, and no ideas with which to contest. So he offered up his self-regard. In the end, he became the useful idiot for a minor celebrity. No loss, none at all. Procrustes can work with Obama through the super yuppies from the Hamilton Project (motto: Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!).

It was a farce. The heirs of John Kenneth Galbraith did not square off against the heirs of Russell Kirk. Just try to imagine any of the popular pundits so much as referencing them in support of an argument, never mind attempting to explicate their ideas. Al Gore offered more ideological content in his loss to George Bush. There should be a clue in that. Hip urban intellectuals swooned over a man who read Stendhal. No one else was moved. Gore was ridiculed and subjected to endlessly petty, ideologically empty calumnies in the media. His supporters dutifully tracked all of them down. He rewarded them by caving in a noisy and craven fashion. Any takers on a bet that Barack Obama has read Galbraith? But he wisely stuck to platitudes and to being good looking. He won and as has already been made abundantly clear, his supporters can expect no more in his victory than they got in Gore's loss. To drive it home to them, he's using Rick Warren in the same way George Bush used John Bolton at the United Nations: as a living, breathing insult.

There is no crisis in American conservatism. The Republican Party has a human resources problem, a public relations problem and a brand identity problem. Talent is thin. They need to recruit. The brand needs to be adjusted to fit the needs of the organization in a way that does not alienate the consumers. The beshat bed left by Cheney-Bush has a new occupant already. Their revenue stream is secure. The managerial core is demoralized, but capable of seeing this through. It is a proud corporate concern with deep roots in the community. It can and will offer a robust, scalable nationwide management solution, with improved moral hygiene and fewer Big Gubmint calories than ever. If needed, and as needed, they can count on a hand up from their colleagues, offered for the good of the country, in the same spirit that got them the votes for the Iraq war, the continued funding of it, the Patriot Act, its extension, the slow sabotage of the factory farm schools, through NCLB, and their replacement with pay-to-play targeted training, the "self-regulating" financial services industry, the War on Drugs, the conversion of manufacturing to services, services to temping and temping to taking out loans for reeducation, etc. etc. A kindly hand, with many dimes in it to be displayed as tokens of managerial rivalry.

March 24, 2009


From the New York Times:

The Doctor's World
A Quandary in Sweden: Criminals in Med School

A year ago, Sweden’s most prestigious medical school found itself in an international uproar after it unknowingly admitted a student who was a Nazi sympathizer and a convicted murderer, then scrambled to find a way to expel him.

Expel him? I don't get it. Guy's a Nazi and a murderer -- hell, he's halfway to being a doctor, already.

June 13, 2009

The Vice-Hormagaunt

Hormagaunt: a legendary undying monster that steals children and lives on the supposedly mythical planet Thamber.

August 15, 2009

Too Toxic To Fail

And too toxic to be anything but disaster. The Fed is hiring. Words to cause the stoutest hearts to skip a beat. They have $2 trillion worth of opaque toxicity, it's handled by the worst people possible (think arsonists as recruits for the fire department) under the control of economists whose real world function is providing obfuscatory rhetoric and bailouts for banksters. If the Bush regime was a true kakistocracy, and it was to nine decimal places, what do you call the merit scholar version?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is aggressively hiring traders as its seeks to manage its burgeoning securities holdings, making the central bank one of Wall Street's most active recruiters of financial talent.

The New York Fed - the arm of the US central bank that implements its monetary policy - plans to increase the staff in its markets group to 400 by the end of the year - up from 240 at the end of 2007.

The Fed, which says that most of its new recruits come from private sector financial firms, is hiring employees as many banks, rating agencies, hedge funds and private equity groups shed staff. New York city officials recently estimated that the sector's woes would lead to a loss of up to 140,000 jobs.

The Fed's need for more traders is a direct consequence of the central bank's efforts to keep credit flowing through the US economy. The Fed has been buying fixed-income securities at such a rate that its assets have more than doubled to $2,000bn in the past year, leading the central bank to conclude that it needs more people to monitor the markets and to manage its credit risks.

Yikes! Please... no. Just don't do it. Please don't monitor the markets or credit risks. Haven't you done enough harm already?

August 22, 2009


"There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up," said President Obama. "Senate go oopsie go ouchy," he further explicated. When pressed for an explanation by the embedded reporters at the White House, spokesman Bill Gibbs scolded the giggling, tittering gaggle for the frivolity of their "caca doodoo" questions. After a potty break and a quiet time, the semblance of decorum was restored.

That's not entirely factual, but I can't for the life of me swear it's not true.

August 25, 2009

Managerial Philistinism

Barney Frank gets nasty in response to wild hyperbole from a loon at a canned town hall, in which "debate" is a euphemism for a marketing push. The effect is surreal. Frank is tasked with the sales pitch of a product that does not yet exist, even in its eventual, inevitable bait and switch form. The reluctant consumer puts the idiot in useful idiot, for the benefit of Frank, who couldn't ask for a better opposition. Liberals offer middle management applause to the equivalent of an angry marketing veep losing his shit over a bat shit crazy mail room clerk who is delivering the package he needs for a promotional effort.

The real world context and content of the farce is completely irrelevant to the applauders. A merit class senior manager, oh blessed relief, is showing signs of shaking off the nembutal haze of a decade's long powerpoint presentation. He could be attempting to fuck the xerox machine, for all they care, as long as he's doing it loudly, vigorously and in a way that offends people they just don't like; it's a mirrored version of the corporate millenarians' corporate epater les bourgeois.

Footnote: Thanks to Jay Taber for this profile of Alan Gottlieb.

December 3, 2009

Maybe they'll shoot each other

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that “as a preliminary matter” it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.


A populist uprising against the bank? I have no idea what kind of uprising they fear, or why they believe it's likely, but if this disgusting, grandiose paranoia leads to them shooting each other, then I'm all for it. The odds of that are pretty good. Bonus rage and psychotic spite are their defining characteristics. So give them all the pistols they want. Make it mandatory.

December 12, 2009

Concerned Crackpots

I can't keep track of how many books Cass Sunstein has written. Fortunately, they all follow the same format: trendy poindexter sociology, partial understanding of real social phenomena, lots of concern trolling and a solipsistic elision of the role his class plays in the creation of perverse incentives, double binds, pyrrhic antipathy, etc.

There's no mystery to the tin foil hat hysterics of the wingnuts. They live in a society in which the Sunsteins have limitless opportunity to indulge their passive aggression and misanthropic control freaking. The wingnuts' opportunities to vent are highly circumscribed, by their own vicious collectivism, and by a society arranged for the comfort of banksters and double-domed, extravagantly credentialed concern trolls. Things like the teabagging and birth certificate tantrums are all they've got.

If the big shot pwogs were really worried, they could try addressing some of the material concerns and insecurities that drive and attract people to the cretinous outbursts. The hard core is probably implacable but the impact of their behavior would fade into a minor freak show in a country less dedicated to violent managerialism, stupid authoritarian mind games and kleptocracy. There'd be fewer Sunstein books, too, but I'm sure we'd find a way to go about our daily tasks.

December 13, 2009

Recreational Sociobiology

A phenotype is any observable characteristic or trait of an organism: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, or behavior. Phenotypes result from the expression of an organism's genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and possible interactions between the two.

Tim Fernholz and Matt Yglesias.


Courtesy of Monsieur IOZ, who has some helpful admonitions for the young gentlemen.

December 24, 2009

Corporate Meritocracy

My take on Barack Obama's apparent rhetorical lapse is that it's a product of his environment. Corporate high achievers have to master the dark arts of advanced infantilization, passive aggression, preemptive CYA, post facto CYA, stonewalling, empty banality, sanctimony, back stabbing and rationalizing the crimes other people commit in anticipation of committing them when your turn comes around.

In that world, the disasters resulting from Bush's economic policies are terrible things that could happen to anyone taking on the burden of senior management positions. The policies themselves are not to blame. After all, they worked very nicely for many years. Bush himself had the bad luck to be the Decider when the wretched slackers destroyed the bankers' party. It goes without saying that now the slackers have to pay to fix it and they need to be encouraged to do so. Fortuitously, the best way to do that is with Bush's economic policies. There's no point in management grinding away on that, however, as even liberals can run short of the cognitive dissonance they'll need for the next set of elections.

January 16, 2010

I was a blog troll for the CIA

I have the feeling Lambert doesn't expect a pony.

That's a really great post. Our favorite double-domed merit crackpot, Cass Sunstein, wrote an "academic" paper on cognitive interventions, which normal people call trolling. Sunstein, needless to say, would send out the flying monkeys for good reasons, not bad ones, and the interventions would target conspiracy theories, e.g. the belief that wealthy people get together to plan regulatory capture, and successfully carry it off.

Sunstein's libertarian paternalism and nudge-o-nomics are, apparently, not so self-evidently wonderful that they can sell themselves to the public. People need their psyches groped and fondled a little before the benefits become clear.

Folks, this is what comes of letting super-intellectuals hang out together. They come to believe they're the defenders of cognitive health.

February 14, 2010

Bobby's children saddle up

Yes that's our man Reich up there, toying with us like Truman Capote -- Bobby Reich, author of The Work of Nations, a smash hit among pwogs all these many long years ago. Do you recall Reich’s solution to foreign competition? Here's a recent paraphrase:

" in the productivity of Americans...early childhood education for every young child, excellent K-12, fully-funded public higher education, more generous aid for kids from middle-class and poor families to attend college.."
But alas, this once-admired paradigm now seems fit for nothing more than bitter satire. Poor Bobby; his vision has come a cropper. Take this pwoggie whine:
"I possess so many degrees from the most prestigious universities in this country (U. of Chicago, Brown, and I was also an exchange scholar at Harvard), and at this point I can’t get a job in this country to save my life."
It's not all whining by our forward-looking high-ed friends. My Lord, the pwog wing of the professional class seem about ready to rumble in the streets with...corporate America! Among other things, they're fed up with Bobby's pat "more and higher education is the answer", when it clearly isn't.

Yes, for real: the free class, the creative class, the symbol-working class, the merit class! -- gets it, at least in part. And why not? The latest decade produced a new wrinkle in blowback from our limited-liability cross-border four-corners-of-the-earth project. After nearly 40 years of wage-bashing high jinx aimed largely at Joe and Jane Sixpack, they evolved a new feature this past decade, a species of globalization aimed more or less directly at them there professionals themselves. They're now hiring third world brains with market-class professional skills, built cheap and ready to live cheap -- cut-price human capital.

Hence the unspoken, unspeakable, politically incorrect but heartfelt cri in the coeur of every Norteamericano meritoid: "Damn it, hoss...the WOGs are everywhere we wanna be these days." The integument of cosmopol-think has burst asunder; time to look at the dwindlin' pay envelope... just like any old redneck with a union assembly job.

Where I found that opening quote, I also found some considerable crosstalk on this very point. Pwog pwofessionals are abuzz with indignation. Just listen:

"[We're]...caught in the paradigm shift between education as a ticket for entry and a refrain from larger and larger numbers of graduating college seniors who wonder ”Now that I have my degree, where is my career?”"
Have they priced themselves out of the career markets? NO!
"...[we] have been priced out. By companies willing to pay people who went to free universities and live in economies where one can survive on far less than here. "

"For years we have been hammering into everyone’s heads that education is the path to success. This has led thousands of people to take on debt they will never be able to conquer because when they enter the job market with their newly minted degrees there are no jobs available to them."

"Corporate leaders gripe about a shortage of US visas, and of having to find talent overseas, in countries whose labor forces are larger than the US’ entire population. They are forced to find workers who scramble over each other to win business contracts that pay a sum that might buy a week’s groceries in the US."

"The populations of the two most populous countries, India and China, outweigh the US population by eight times. Their workforces outnumber US workers by ten times. Yet, their average GDP per capita is about a tenth of the US’."

Wow! where's the open-borders small world, after all, in this? Yikes! Sounds more like the Klan on the march!

Goes to show ya -- all this Sunday-supplement altruism and fellow-human handwringing turns to white-sheet action quarters once your own ox gets gored.

So the oviousl leftie answer is: time to struggle! Time to form a broad-based job-class united-front movement. Let 50 snare drums rattle, 50 brass bugles blare! Here come da merit class auxiliary, on the class march with horny-handed hoi polloi, for the first time since FDR got a hand job. And they ain't in a dialoguin' mood either. No more "let us sit down in peace with the corporate corsairs and reason together". Nope, that's out with this wild flier crowd:

"Corporations will not be willing to lose their certain short-term gains in order to reap uncertain long-term growth. That is why their interests are not part of this equation."
Okay, it ain't Marx. But it might be movement material.

April 12, 2010

The Quintessential Wingnut

The focus is on Democrats, I know, but from time to time I find a wingnut who could easily be a Democrat. This, is one.


If he weren't already merit class perfection, he's employed by Welfare Queen Headquarters.

April 20, 2010

Merit Class Management Skills

The Obama regime is proud to continue the tradition established by the Bush regime, in many ways, and when it comes to the Global War on Evil they're not afraid to put their best foot forward. They're also keen on recycling.

Via Flagrancy To Reason, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, a much killed man, has been killed again. This time with a difference, which unfortunately must be left as an exercise for the discerning reader.

November 22, 2010

The Chief Groper Speaks!

The head groping dude is a lovely looking fellow. He looks like a seasoned groper. Look at those hands, that face, that creeping smirk, that molester's toupee and tell me he isn't.


Unsurprisingly, he says he believes the refusal to be scanned is a mistake. I don't believe a word of it. He's patently insincere. Refusing the scans entails more groping, which is obviously his purpose in life.

What a miserable comedown this is for the Democratic merit class. Reduced to the peckerwood perversions of the Republican Party...

About The merit class

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the The merit class category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

The Mailbag is the previous category.

the ministry of emotion is the next category.

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