On Carrying Water

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Adam Ozimek touches on a theme that’s close to my heart every four years:

[W]here in my post arguing for more immigration does [Brad DeLong] find evidence that I “carry water for a Republican Party that simply does not exist in modern America”?

This is very puzzling to me. Nowhere in my article do I praise Republicans or their policies….

Mr. Ozimek goes on to catalog several posts in which he has disagreed with Republicans and their policies. He insists that he’s not carrying water for them. I sympathize. I even believe him.

Demurral though will not solve his problem. Now, having written what he has, and having called attention to his criticism of Republicans, he will stand accused of carrying water for the other side, whether or not he wants to be.

My reading of him suggests that he’s primarily trying to talk about how economics works, for example in a post like this one — and not trying to boost one party or the other. Hard to believe, I know.

This is not to say that he doesn’t have a preference. I presume he does, and he’s entitled to have one, though if he’s published an endorsement, I’ve missed it. But I think any fair impression of Mr. Ozimek would at some point have to include noting the obvious difference between him and, say, Sean Hannity.

Nevertheless in an election season there is virtually no way to be nonpartisan while simultaneously writing anything at all about public policy. Someone has always figured you out, and they’re always intent on laying bare your secret partisan heart.

This would be amusing to me — if I could convince anyone of my sincerely nonpartisan alignment. And then maybe we could commiserate. I really am nonpartisan, in that I dislike both parties about equally. I think a change in political culture is needed — in both parties — before we can reliably start seeing the kind of government I prefer.

I do like the Democrats for some things, some of the time — mostly cultural and civil liberties issues. But I know perfectly well that their deeds aren’t what you might infer from their rhetoric. I like the Republicans for some things, some of the time — mostly that they often do speak up for free market economics, for keeping taxes low, and for cutting government spending. Though again, their deeds typically don’t match their rhetoric, either.

I meant that last paragraph to be balanced, but I know — I know — that someone is going to suss out some subtle bias in it, which will reveal to all the world what a partisan hack I really am. And they will post a comment about it in 3… 2…

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30 Responses to “On Carrying Water”

  1. #1 |  el coronado | 

    Why would you get bashed for being partisan when all you’re doing is continuing the theme of the last week or so: ‘Who’s less unfriendly to Libertarian Principles when a Libertarian goes to vote for one of the (realistically) 2 and only 2 parties that run the country?’

    No one’s arguing that they both don’t suck. Are both aren’t a pack of mendacious, dishonest, hypocritical careerist scum.

  2. #2 |  whiskey | 

    If your view of the most pressing issue of the future requires increased immigration, to call yourself a Republican is a sign of derangement.

  3. #3 |  Jason Kuznicki | 


    True. But who is guilty of that, if anyone?

    I’ve heard a few people claiming that open immigration is the single most important thing we could do to improve human well-being. Bryan Caplan is among them, but I know he’s not a Republican, and I don’t think any of the others are either.

  4. #4 |  Dante | 

    Bottom Line:

    Democrats = Republicans = Self-Serving, Dishonest Politicians.

    Vote the Incumbent Out (both parties).

    Let’s all send a message that even the dolts in Washington will understand.

  5. #5 |  Leah | 

    You partisan hack. ;-)

    No really, I agree with this and it’s why I can’t bring myself to align myself with either party. If it came down to having to pick one I would probably go with Democrats because of all the Personhood bills the Republicans are so invested in. But does that mean I’m cool with the children and innocents in Afghanistan getting killed by Democrats? Nope. Which is why I fundamentally can’t consider either party to be close enough to my views to support. I spend a lot of time writing people in when voting here in Cook Country.

  6. #6 |  Skipjack | 

    I’m sure you see that by treating the two parties equally when clearly one side is evil while the other side, my party, is while not entirely blameless still such a clearly preferable moral, ethical, and patriotic choice, then it can be said that with this false equivalence you are carrying water for the bad guys. It’s your fault for pretending otherwise.

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Every time I criticize one of the two main parties, I always add a disclaimer that my comments should not be construed to mean I favor the other party. You have to do that because the entire population has been indoctrinated since birth with the First Law of American Media that there can only be two perspectives on any issue. Furthermore, though the two perspectives may often be nearly identical, they must always be presented as being diametric opposites.

    The same can be said for any theoretical dichotomy, such as conservative/liberal, right/left, religious/infidel, patriotic/treasonous, child-killers/anti-abortion, tough on crime/people with something to hide, pro-war with Iran/Jew-haters, advocates for huge national debt/children who will be stuck with the bill, pro-drug war/stoners, support for the troops/cut and run, etc, etc.

    Disclaimer: Before jumping to conclusions about what I’m saying, please consider the possibility that I could be employing sarcasm to make my point (or not).

  8. #8 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    No one’s arguing that they both don’t suck. Are both aren’t a pack of mendacious, dishonest, hypocritical careerist scum.

    And yet, people continue to support them. Just a little bit broken system is.

    If you criticize a Dem, Dems call you a Republican. Same for Republicans. I’ve said before that my early, single life made me realize that libertarians are friends with whatever party isn’t in the White House. I hooked up with Dems/Socialists during Reagan and Bush. Scored with Republicans during Clinton. They all get a little anti-establishment wild side going until THEIR guy is pulling the strings. After that, libertarians are repulsive and Bush/Obama is a sexual god who pisses rainbow dreams.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So, we agree there are always only two sides to an issue. But I guess some people disagree with that (which supports my claim). Quick, get me a TV show!

  10. #10 |  James D | 

    #2, I’m not sure what your point was … it’s pretty well known that GW Bush (a Republican is case you’re from Mars) was for increased immigration because many people believed it was the only way to get many more ‘young’ people in the workforce to pay for stuff like Social Security because of the shrinking younger generation and the huge baby boomer group all hitting 60+.

    As for Radley’s main post, I have always thought he was ‘easier’ on Dems but I’ve never thought he was ‘in the camp’ for either party at all. You can’t have come here for nearly a decade and actually believe that he was anything other than a libertarian …

  11. #11 |  James D | 

    Sorry, Jason, just realized this was your post and not Radley’s but I’m sure the point is the same if he’s letting you post ….

  12. #12 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    Yeah, I’m still around for about a week yet.

  13. #13 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I actually had a liberal/Democrat acquaintance post on Facebook that I was an example of a conservative who he felt actually had thoughtful, principled opinions. When I responded by noting that I’m not actually conservative, he essentially told me I was wrong, and that while I may call myself libertarian, I’m really conservative. Some people are just incapable of seeing the world as anything but binary, and to them, if you’re not a Democratic, you’re a Republican.

  14. #14 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    #13 – none of my friends come out and say it as such, but I do get a few instances of liberal friends who symbolically pat me on the head and say “yeah sure” when I try to point out the difference libertarianism and conservative. Of course, one of these friends argues to a standstill that there is no difference between progressive and liberal, so I don’t take their opinion as gospel. More funny than annoying.

  15. #15 |  Pasquin | 

    You used thirty-three words to describe Dems and forty-two for GOP.

    Clear case of bias. You can’t argue with science. :D

  16. #16 |  Bergman | 

    As long as one party or another makes a kernel of truth part of their party line, and the other denies that truth, anyone speaking truth will be seen as favoring that party.

    It simply does not matter that one side is wrong on a facet of reality, it’s a political matter now.

  17. #17 |  JLS | 

    Isn’t it funny how some countries in Europe have like 16 parties shariing power reflecting every view from Marxists to Nationalists?

    Is it just Americans who are so blinded by this “it has to be either one or the other” outlook? Is it just Americans who can’t see anything besides black and white with no shades in between?

  18. #18 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    North Korea too.

  19. #19 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    The real answer to the problem od D vs R is to get involved inthe party of your preference on a local level and follow Robert Heinein’s advice (TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT Baen books; out of print, but still available as an e-book) on defeating the professional politicians, who are as devoid of principles as the moon is of cheese.

    But that is one hell of a lot easier to write than it is to do. It would involve actually working at the thing, and I am just as guilty of laziness and procrastination on that point as any of the rest of y’all.

  20. #20 |  Curt | 

    Given a choice between being punched in the face or kicked in the junk… I have a stronger dislike for getting kicked in the jewels.

    Please do not construe this as a sign that I approve of being punched in the face.

  21. #21 |  Curt | 

    @ Jason…

    Unfortunately, anytime that you express some kind of disapproval of Party A, you are very clearly indicating your support of Party B. Disapproval of Party A is the #1 item on Party B’s platform. It is the only thing that Party B’s supporters can actually agree on. It is the primary concern that will motivate them to get out and vote.

    This is why the supporters of Party B don’t give a crap that their politicians don’t actually represent any of the values/policies that they claim. Only their opposition of Party A is relevant.

  22. #22 |  JLS | 

    AnonymousCoward “North Korea too.”

    lol’ed for real.

  23. #23 |  crazybob | 

    “Isn’t it funny how some countries in Europe have like 16 parties sharing power reflecting every view from Marxists to Nationalists?”

    It is one of the numerous advantages of the parliamentary system, which the US should rewrite the constitution to adopt. After WWII when we went around the world setting up democracies in other countries – the US universally pushed parliamentary forms on them, instead of modelling them on the US constitution. Why? Because they work better, and everyone recognized it.

  24. #24 |  Brandon | 

    “Isn’t it funny how some countries in Europe have like 16 parties sharing power reflecting every view from Marxists to Nationalists?”

    Isn’t it funny how those same countries are circling the drain just like we are? The problem isn’t the binary system, it’s the nature of government. That’s why the system of government is almost irrelevant; as long as there are strict limits on what the government can do, things will turn out all right. The partisan bickering is just a distraction from the total failures of government.

  25. #25 |  Bill Wells | 


    It’s not possible to take back this government. In this nation of 300+ million people and some huge number of jurisdictions….how many jurisdictions are there where the government understands and respects individual rights? If that number is not zero, how much effort did it take to get there and how many people would it take to do the same in a majority of states…..and what are the chances that a constitutional convention–because that’s what it will take to fix this government–won’t be coopted by special interest groups who will turn the American Constitution into a gimme-gimme charter?

    America has stopped being a nation of people who believe in individual rights and has become, instead, a nation of whiny children, all demanding their turn at the public teat. American politics cannot change so long as that is true. And America cannot solve any of its real problems so long as its politics remains based on deciding who will be stolen from and who will receive the stolen goods.

  26. #26 |  crazybob | 

    “as long as there are strict limits on what the government can do, things will turn out all right. ”

    That’s an opinion, and one without basis. Canada, for example, has many fewer limits on government than the US, and much more involvement in the economy (health care, for example). And yet they largely escaped the financial meltdown that happened in the US. Why? Government limited the dangerous banking practices.

    Facts are that government involvement underpins most sectors of the US economy.

  27. #27 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Bill Wells,

    I don’t believe that. I think if you read Mr. Heinlein’s book you might not either. That said, it would be a lot of work and take a long time. After all, it took a long time for things to get into their present revolting state.

    Most people don’t want to be bothered. Some have too much on their plates already. Some wouldn’t be able to do the tedious part, and would get in the way of the exciting bits. But I think there is change in the works; The Republican “business as usual” operators are already feeling some cold breeze. I even see some sign of revolt in the Democrat ranks, although it is being obscured by the usual Liberal Left Street Theatre (Occupy Whatever, and so forth).

    I see some of the political theatre, like the squawks about ‘for profit’ colleges and the ‘eating healthy’ efforts being paraded in the public schools as attempts to distract from fundamental failures of the Political Class, and I not that a heartening number of people are declining to be much distracted.

    Maybe the change will just be one group of professional parasites ousting another, but I don’t give up hope.

    After all, giving up hope is just what the parasites want me to do, and I decline to oblige them.

  28. #28 |  Bill Wells | 

    (try number three)


    The bottom line is…..that book was written many years ago yet the government is far worse than it was when Heinlein wrote it. That, if nothing else, demonstrates that the book simply doesn’t have what it takes to effect any real change.

    No, the parasites *do* *not* want you to give up hope. Your hope chains you to the political process, where you are rendered impotent. They know this *because they control the political process*. This is why the incessant propaganda to vote.

    To quote a forgotten someone, “Hope is not a plan”. And, “If only everyone did….” is an exercise in opium smoking…. That’s all that I’ve seen from anyone who has suggested using the political process to try to reverse America’s plunge into the abyss. If you have something better than that, do tell. But otherwise, I can’t respect your view, not even if it comes from Heinlein.

    (No, I don’t see the Tea Partiers and Occupiers as significant change. They are, for the most part, mere exaggerations of the evil moralities that got America here in the first place.)

  29. #29 |  JLS | 

    #24 Brandon, I wasn’t talking about whether it is an effective form of government or whether they were “working” whatever that might mean. I was talking about Americans seemingly inablitiy to see anything in terms other than stark black and white. It seems like Europeans and others don’t classify every single thing in the world as either liberal or conservative but recognize that many people overlap or don’t fit neatly into this dichotomy.

  30. #30 |  liberranter | 

    …if I could convince anyone of my sincerely nonpartisan alignment. And then maybe we could commiserate. I really am nonpartisan, in that I dislike both parties about equally.

    Unfortunately, Boobus Americanus has been indoctrinated for so long, across so many generations, to accept partisan politics as a fact of life that no amount of reason can change his mind. Then again, arguing or trying to reason with Boobus is a violation of the Confucian principle that says, essentially, that the only person who tries to reason with Boobus is an even bigger Boobus.