|President Obama Will Never Have a Plan||Liberals: The Necessary Delusion|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 08, 2013 at 12:00 am
THE WORD ABOUT negotiations is that Speaker Boehner has vowed not to negotiate one-on-one with President Obama any more. Not after being stiffed twice by the president: first in the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, and second in the fiscal cliff deal.
In this the speaker is merely admitting to a little piece of settled science: the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is an arcane piece of game theory, that takes forever to explain. But reduced to essentials, it tries to answer the question: should I trust the other guy?
If you answer: more research is needed, go straight to the head of the class.
But in the real world we want answers, and fortunately answers have emerged from a famous experiment in the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma conducted by Robert Axelrod. He invited people to submit strategies for an iterated game of Prisoner’s Dilemma. The winner submitted a simple strategy, TIT-FOR-TAT, which copied the opponent’s every move.
It’s obvious, really. If you are in a short-term relationship with another person then you profit by cheating them. If you are in a long-term relationship then you should always copy the other person’s actions. In other words, you should trust people that demonstrate trustworthiness, and should not trust people that stiff you.
We can see that Speaker Boehner has been a little slow on the uptake. But now he’s learned his lesson, and he won’t be fooled by the president again. Fool me once...
It’s obvious where the president’s cheater tactics come from. They issue from his lefty culture and its formalization in Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. We could say that Rules is a primer on how to act with people that you are determined to mistrust. Heck, let’s expand the problem and say that the whole point of left-wing politics is to sow distrust. Don’t trust the banker; he’s greedy. Don’t trust the grocer; he’s a company store. Don’t trust your employer; he’s making a profit off your labor. Don’t trust Wall Street; it’s a casino. Don’t trust the family; it’s a patriarchy. Don’t trust the church; the priests are hitting on little boys. Don’t trust the community organizer.. No wait! The community organizer is the good guy!
The end result of all the mistrust is to cut your followers off from all relationships except their relationship to you, the community organizer. Then, of course, your followers are stuck. They have burned all their bridges and so they must follow you, even if you lean them to national ruin like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela or the Peronists in Argentina.
Ominously, the president’s tactics follow precisely the tactics of an enraged female cobra in Kipling’s Jungle Books. You’ll remember Nagaina telling the Brit colonial exploiters: “If you move I strike. And if you do not move I strike.” Hell hath no fury like a widowed snake. She was so angry you would think that she was upset about cuts to social programs, just as the president and his party are beside themselves about possible cuts to US social programs.
Conservatives just want to get on with the sensible middle-class job of cleaning up the national balance sheet, just as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi wanted to clear the garden of cobras. But instead it is probably best just to make life miserable for the president and the Democrats, because they still don’t get it.
Here’s an example. It is Joan Walsh at Salon burbling on about “Obama’s Great Society” and indulging in a little rational factual socialist argument while rearranging the administrative deck chairs on the unsinkable entitlement programs. You see, we need “universal programs for more than just the elderly – universal preschool and higher education, to cite two pressing priorities.” Too late, Joanie. We already spent all the money on the elderly.
Anyway, President Obama has made his choice. He believes in mistrust and division. Without trust there can be no deal on anything, let alone a grand bargain to reform the Democrats’ beloved entitlements. But that is all right. We are never going to do anything about entitlements anyway until the inevitable sovereign debt crisis arrives. Maybe, when it does, we’ll do what the Liberal Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin did in the mid 1990s: Cut Programs.
When we racists, bigots and homophobes actually do get our teeth in the neck of the administrative welfare snake it better be with the grudging consent of the Democrats. Otherwise they’ll be sending their thugs out into the street to start a national conversation.
Until then, conservatives and Republicans should remember the rules of the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma. When your opponent shows by his actions that he can’t be trusted, it means you shouldn’t trust him. Ever.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier.
Gen. Hans von Seeckt, quoted in MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050.
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300â€“301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization