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Vindictively Infantile Poindexters

By Al Schumann on Saturday June 12, 2010 02:32 AM

The Nudge blog is the online companion to Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.” Here you’ll find much more about nudging, choice architecture, libertarian paternalism, and many other terms you won’t read about in standard economics books.

Cass Sunstein is currently the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and has no affiliation with the Nudge blog.

The Nudge blog is edited by John Balz, a graduate student in political science at the University of Chicago.


Libertarian paternalism is self-consciously oxymoronic. Who but a hopelessly passive aggressive control freak would even think of such a thing? It's a preciously cute name for a throughly odious practice. The concept appears deliberately designed to provoke ridicule and hostility. And needless to say its exponents are proud of it.

But it does look like a good fit for people who spend a lot of time with Republicans. It looks, in fact, like the Democratic answer to the Republicans' moral hygiene crusade. Drop a turd in the punch bowl;create a "choice architecture" that attempts to force people to drink out of it; make it random, impersonal and obfuscate the triggers so no one can point to any of the more obvious biases; scream "fascism and "conspiracy theory" when people object; promote flying monkey cognitive interventions, etc. etc.

Dear readers, libertarian paternalism is the philosophy of Underpants Gnomes who, God help us all, have finally figured out a way to profit. It's the zenith of Progressive social thinking.

Comments (10)


I've got a good one, Al -- "win a trip to Israel" inside the coke bottle cap.

Al Schumann:

You've captured the spirit, senecal. It offers a slightly creepy non-solution to a minor problem, and it trivializes all the major problems.


i prefer
this old school update:

tele-authoritarian maternalism


May large rocks fall upon the small crania of all authors of such one-word-title "books."

The hallmark of all three sludges in that unintentionally hilarious post is the feigned innocence about the existence of capitalist motives. I suppose that's the real point of the assignment, though, isn't it? These are the next generation's Barack Obamas, aren't they? How well can you play dumb, kids? Want into Harvard Law? Let's see your chops...

"But it does look like a good fit for people who spend a lot of time with Republicans. It looks, in fact, like the Democratic answer to the Republicans' moral hygiene crusade"

It's the corallary to it. With both parties fully in the grip of the industrial-financial-military complex of the American Empire they have to serve up shit sandwiches to everyone but they each need their own distinctive flavor of shit in order to differentiate themselves.

Mmmm.... shit. Get used to it. After they're done raping Social Security and shredding the remaining tatters of the alreay sick social safety net it'll be what's for dinner.


Here's a better example: Obama says "clean it up within 48 hours, or else!" Ah, the full might and majesty of the President of the US about to descend on the head of, uhm, a man who's net worth is about 1000 times that of the President. It's gonna be an epic battle!


the hallowed list of secular
egg white type cults
ie conducted and motivated
sans mortifying religio oafery
testicles and ovary

includes this outfit :


Cass Sunstein? Y'mean, that Cass Sunstein? Mr. Perception Management? Know what I mean, know what I mean, say no more, nudge nudge?

P'wah ha ha ha hah.



Al, I'd be fine with having a flying monkey cognitive intervention as long as I knew I'd be coming down in 4-8 hours. The Sunstein cartel are selling something with a toxic half-life on the scale of U-234.

Michael Hureaux:

What's in a name? A Reagan by any other name would be as necrotically pungent.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Saturday June 12, 2010 02:32 AM.

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