Mid-Term Election Thread

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for…but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires. — Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long.

Post your predictions, complaints and so forth here. I’m predicting that the Republicans will take the Senate with 51 or 52 seats, increase their margin in the House and, with the exception of Pennsylvania, hold serve in the Governor’s races. I’d like to say this is based on a deep scientific analysis of the polls and the economy. But it’s actually based on the whining coming from the Democrats and their supporters, including no less than two pundits arguing that we should ditch midterms all together. If they’re already that distraught, this must be about to go badly.

A couple of years ago, Obama had a bad presidential debate and started collapsing at the polls. Saturday Night Live did a comedy skit where MSNBC was covering the debate. It ended with Rachel Maddow saying something like, “Coming up: elections are a lot less important than you think!”. Expect a lot of that from the Democrats tonight, except they’ll mean it this time.

For the purposes of entertainment, I’d like everyone to predict how badly Wendy Davis is going to lose in Texas. I have Abbott by 19 points.

Oh, THAT Liberal Media, Part 87

Just remember, kids, our media are totally not biased. That’s why things like this happen:

National media coverage of North Carolina’s Senate race between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis has focused on Hagan’s allegedly “perfect” campaign, in which the Senator has hammered her opponent on his record of attempting to reform a horrifically inefficient state education system while serving as Speaker of the state’s House of Representatives.

Admittedly, education is a far more appealing wedge issue than claiming one’s opponent plans to ban condoms, but lurking beneath the surface of the Hagan-Tillis race is a troubling ethics issue, one that has gone virtually unreported by North Carolina’s two largest newspapers, the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer: that Kay Hagan’s family, including her attorney husband “Chip” Hagan, her son, and her son-in-law, made out like bandits under the 2009 federal “stimulus” bill championed by Senator Hagan, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate buildings owned by their companies through solar power companies which, coincidentally, were also owned by the Hagan family. Instead, coverage of this potential conflict of interest, in which Hagan’s family may have benefitted from her vote and her political connections, has been left to the tiny Carolina Journal, a blog run by North Carolina’s economic libertarian John Locke Foundation, which has run rings around the state’s larger papers in coverage of this race.

Last night, the Charlotte Observer posted some coverage of the story (note, this is less than 48 hours before the election). Today, they tried to memory-hole the story but conservative sites have archived it.

I’m sitting her with my jaw on the floor. You know damn well that if, say, Jeb Bush had stimulus dollars flowing to his family in possible violation of regulations, it would be a front-page story. It’s simply stunning that a major news outlet would ignore it. The deference to the powerful — no matter what their political stripe — is absurd.

Or … maybe not so stunning.

How much does this cost again?

Let’s level set and get something out of the way here before I go on my rant about how Harvard now has an anal sex 101 class it will offer, and while I love the idea – because the chicks attending that class are going to be easy and game for some anal. Sure the risk is that the class will be full of dudes that are into this stuff, and believe me as a lesbian trapped in a man’s body I empathize with gays, but bagging even one of these freaky chicks can be entertaining – this is just wrong on so many levels.

I have always felt that college was the only major expense where the majority of Americans partaking attempt to actually get the least return for their huge investment. Partying hard, last I checked, when you are plopping down tens of thousands of dollars a year, while avoiding as much of the work as you can get away with – especially when you already pick out a one of the many fluff degrees these esteemed institutions still charge an arm and a leg for so you can avoid real work – appears to be the experience of practically all college attendees, with a few exceptions. When you have a masters degree program with some 450 students in it, and only 3 of us are not from some other country, you know that’s a degree you got to bust your ass for. The people at the bar every night of the week, and home only because they had no money to go there, prove my point.

This phenomenon of avoiding work seems to be even worse today. Way too many of these colleges and universities have dumbed down their curricula on top of that. Paying a lot of money, or worse, hocking your future by accruing anywhere from $50-150K in student loan debt for degrees that will never pay back that investment in the first place, seems like an insane exercise to me. Harvard ain’t cheap. When you are dropping close to $55K a year for your kid to go there, finding out they are taking a class about butt seks may be something that affects your blood pressure, and plays into my conviction that today’s college education ain’t worth the cost anymore.

My advice to the young today is to learn a trade and get some real work ethics, and avoid college unless they are actually paying for a degree that will return on the investment. I think it is becoming pretty obvious that working hard, especially when you are offering a service that will not be obsoleted, offshored, or outsourced, is far more of a guarantor of success and decent income than the accrual of huge debt and a piece of paper for a fluff degree. And as more people wise up to this reality, things are going to change. In the meantime, pine for the butt seks classes and the lost opportunities.

The Ivy league ain’t what it used to be.

Yes Doesn’t Mean Yes

The blogosphere has been lighting up for the last few weeks over California’s passage of a “Yes Means Yes” law, which basically says that only affirmative consent qualifies as consent and that this consent has be obtained at every phase of any sexual encounter.

The new law seeks both to improve how universities handle rape and sexual assault accusations and to clarify the standards, requiring an “affirmative consent” and stating that consent can’t be given if someone is asleep or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

“Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent,” the law states, “nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”

California’s Legislature approved the measure last month, with broad support. But while victims’ rights advocates have welcomed the new standard, the law also has its critics, who say its requirements place too much burden on the accused.

You can guess where most people have landed on this subject. Liberals are praising it as a step against a supposed epidemic of sexual violence on campus (sexual violence on campuses is depressingly real, but the much-touted “one woman in five” stat is an overestimate and in conflict with the government’s own numbers). Many conservatives and libertarians are critical because they see it as canting the field against the accused and an intrusion into people’s private behavior.

Probably the worst commentary on this belongs to Ezra Klein. In his first article, he admitted that “Yes Means Yes” is a bad law but said it was necessary to deal with the problem of campus rape. You can check Conor’s response here. Klein then doubled down with some musings about the legal system which was inaccurate, to say the least.

The thing is, I think much of the debate is missing the point. Whether “Yes Means Yes” is a good law or a bad law, it’s addressing the wrong problem. The problem is not that we have an unclear definition of consent; the problem is that these cases are being handled by universities at all.

To call campus judiciary systems a kangaroo court would be an insult to marsupials. You can read here about the details of a woman who says her boyfriend, during consensual sex, beat her, choked her and anally raped her. When she tried to use the campus judicial system, they allowed him to reference a supposedly exculpatory video, but she was never allowed rebut his testimony by showing the video. They made a big deal over her months-long delay in bringing charges, but didn’t allow her to explain why she delayed (she wasn’t going to bring charges until she found out he had assaulted other women). They were not allowed to consider that he’d been previously found responsible for similar sexual misconduct because the cases had been mysteriously re-opened.

This is not surprising to anyone who has been in academia for long. Campus judiciary systems are frequently a joke. They use rules of evidence made up on the fly, they are usually run by students, staff and/or faculty who have maybe watched an episode of Matlock. The problem is not that they don’t have a clear definition of consent; the problem is that they don’t know what the hell they are doing.

The system is little better than a random number generator. Often, women are subjected to a ridiculous process that leads inevitably to exoneration. But, on occasion, it works the other way and men are railroaded and slimed. There’s no logic or reason to it. The cases that result in men being unfairly kicked off campus are frequently far weaker than the ones that have a campus jury acquitting.

Campus justice systems should stick to what they’re good at: exonerating students who have cheated on exams.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. I have read the details of many cases in which innocent people were convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, often spending decades in prison or on death row. The one thing that jumps out at you, over and over, is the tunnel vision that can grip law enforcement and prosecutors. Once they have the idea that X committed the crime, they begin to see everything in that light. Exonerative evidence is explained away or ignored; confirming evidence is believed and touted. And while academics like to think of themselves as floating loftily above confirmation bias and rushes to judgement, they are just as susceptible to it as anyone else. People tend to decide questions before they have all the evidence. That’s human nature.

The difference is that our legal system has safeguards to try to stop the runaway train of presumed guilt: an adversarial lawyer system, the right to confront witnesses, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it works well. Most campus systems have none of that. To the extent that they do, they are trying to get rid of it. In fact, the Justice Department has been pressuring campus legal systems to move toward “preponderance of evidence” and other shortcuts.

The result is that there are few safeguards against a campus judiciary board deciding in favor of whatever their initial conclusion was. If they thought the guy was innocent, they’ll find him innocent. If they think he’s guilty, they’ll decide he’s guilty. How does “Yes means Yes” address that?

It doesn’t. What this really is about is getting a foot in the door for something radical feminists have wanted for a long time: a standard of “enthusiastic consent” to determine the line between sex and rape. According to these theorists, the only time sex should happen is when the woman is eager for it. Anything else is a varying degree of rape.

But under this standard — and to some extent under the standard of “yes means yes” — the vast majority of sex would qualify as rape. When discussing this on Twitter, one of my followers tweeting back that she spent years in a relationship with lousy sex. She was not at all enthusiastic about it, but she consented. Another one pointed out that this would classify all sex work — from street walkers to sugar babies — as rape victims. Still another said she has never been one to initiate sex; but she’s up for it when her partner wants it. In fact, a lot of women’s sexuality is responsive. For a lot of women, what turns them on is being wanted. Dan Savage likes to say that men get aroused and start having sex; women start having sex and get aroused. Lesbians sometimes have difficulty with their sex lives because — whether by genetics or socialization — they have difficult initiating sex out of the blue. And millions of couples have engaged in drunk sex, perfunctory sex or “we’re trying to get pregnant and you’re ovulating so whatever” sex.

Some women (and some men) find the idea of asking for permission sexy. Many women don’t. The simple fact is that human sexuality — and especially female human sexuality — is way too complex for such simple rules. If you put a thousand women in a room and asked them what kind of sex they want, you would probably get two thousand answers. That’s fine. That’s human nature. But California has now taken a step toward codifying one of those answers into law.

I understand the basis for these changes. As Megan McArdle points out, the problem of campus sexual violence is confined to a small percentage of men who do this repeatedly and knowingly. Most women can tell the difference between a guy who misreads her signals and a guy who doesn’t give a shit about her signals (although the people who compile the “one in five” stat count both as assault). What “yes means yes” does is give the colleges more leverage in ejecting the real scumbags from campuses. They’ll no longer be able to waffle and warp when a committee can just say, “Did you ask if she wanted to have anal sex?”

The problem is that 1) this is unlikely to work. Rapists and assaulters will continue to lie and claim that consent was given when it wasn’t. It will just boil down to a more precise version of “he said — she said”; 2) authorities love vagueness in the law. They love it. If you give universities this kind of authority and discretion, it will be abused. It will simply reinforce what the college judicial boards want to do in these cases. If they’ve decided a man is guilty before hearing the evidence, this will just persuade them all the further. And if they’ve decided he’s innocent, this won’t dissuade them. Only a system set up like our current legal system — with witness confrontation, representation and a presumption of innocence — can get close to the truth.

That’s, of course, assuming that the colleges even get the implementation of this law right. We’re now seeing that college regulations are showing up as poorly thought out and badly written, even beyond the bad ideas of legislatures and federal agencies. Michigan’s sexual assault policy is so badly written it makes refusing sex or criticizing someone sexually an incident of sexual violence. Ohio State’s policy regards sex with the elderly or disabled to be assault. I mean, it shouldn’t surprise us that the Buckeyes and Wolverines would fumble the ball like this. But come on. These laws read like they were written by people who’ve never had sex.

Here’s the sexual assault policy I would put in place on college campuses:

1) If someone claims to have been raped or sexually assaulted, this will be handled by the police. As bad as the police are, they’re not a college judiciary committee. A lot of people think this isn’t enough. They want accused rapists kicked off campus so that the victim doesn’t have to live in the same dorms or go to class in the same buildings as him. OK:

2) If a student is the target of a criminal investigation or proceeding, he will be suspended from campus until the case is resolved. He will be allowed to take online courses toward his degree until if/when he is convicted. Even if the charges are dropped, the University will prevent the accuser and accused from living in the same dorm or taking the same classes (as much as practicable). For both their sakes.

Harsh? Yes. But it puts these cases back into the realm of reality where charges, claims, counter-claims and evidence is being handled by people who do this for a living not some psychology professor with an axe to grind.

Sexual violence in our society is down. From the heights of the 1970’s and 1980’s, it has fallen 60-80%, depending on which stats you believe. But it is still too high. A couple of hundred thousand women are sexually assaulted or raped every year. We should do something about that. And to some extent, we have (see 60-80% drop in violence rates). But I agree we should do more. And college campus are a good place to start since most sexual violence victims are under 30.

But this isn’t what we should do.

I agree with what Elizabeth Nolan Brown has been saying: if we really want to do something about sexual violence, let’s start with testing the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that are lying around the country. Let’s get states to stop forcing women to pay for their own rape exams, as Louisiana just did. Let’s punish everyone who engages in sexual violence, whether they’re an obscure college student or a member of our political elite.

But let’s not take legal shortcuts based on the rantings of radical feminists. That way lies more misery and no progress.

Forced charity is still bullshit

The new pope is making the case that caring for the poor doesn’t make you a communist, and he is right. What can be argued makes you a communist, or if you want to be pedantic and stick to the definition that communism means the state owns everything, what it makes you is a collectivist douchebag, is when you expect government to do it after it uses force to confiscate the earnings of others, and all under the pretense it is doing so to help.

Fuck the lot of you slavers. If you want to care for the poor use your own money. That’s what makes it nobel. Speaking of using their own money, that cult in Rome can really help the poor if it sold off some of that wealth it has and used that instead. Know what I am saying pope?

Sneaking and Peaking

Holy crap:

One of the more controversial provisions of the Patriot Act was to broaden the “sneak-and-peek” power for federal law enforcement officials. The provision allows investigators to conduct searches without informing the target of the search. We were assured at the time that this was an essential law enforcement tool that would be used only to protect the country from terrorism. Supporters argued that it was critical that investigators be allowed to look into the lives and finances of suspected terrorists without tipping off those terrorists to the fact that they were under investigation.

More than a decade later, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published an analysis on use of the sneak-and-peek power. Just as critics predicted, it’s now a ubiquitous part of federal law enforcement.

According to the EFF, there were over eleven thousand sneak and peek requests in 2013. Of those, only half a percent were terrorism cases. The vast majority were for drug investigations with the remainder for other non-terrorism criminality.

This is the reason why, however much I have criticized Bush for his War on Terror excesses, Barack Obama has been far far worse. It’s not just that sneak-and-peak requests have tripled under his watch. It’s not just the massive expansion of the drone war. It’s not just the explosion of surveillance. It’s that he has now given the bipartisan kiss of approval to all of this. Bush may have started the War on Terror, but Barack Obama has cemented it in place to an excess that would make John Ashcroft blush (Ashcroft, whom you may remember as a favored whipping boy of Democratic pseudo-civil libertarians, refused to extend the domestic surveillance program).

Radley has a few lessons we should learn from this. You should really read the whole thing. Here’s the most important:

Law-and-order politicians and many (but not all) law enforcement and national security officials see the Bill of Rights not as the foundation of a free society but as an obstacle that prevents them from doing their jobs. Keep this in mind when they use a national emergency to argue for exceptions to those rights.

We can not rely on politicians to defend our civil liberties. We must actively use them and defend them. And any intrusion into our liberty must be opposed, no matter what crisis is at hand. If we don’t defend or liberty, who will?

To Quarantine Or Not to Quarantine

As you may know, there is a brewing controversy over what to do with healthcare workers returning from the Ebola hot zone in West Africa. After Craig Spencer came down with Ebola, several governors imposed quarantines on returning healthcare workers. Controversy erupted and, I believe, we are down to home quarantine for 21 days.

A few thoughts:

First, it’s true that there has been a bit of an over-reaction. So far, we have only had two people infected while in this country and both of them were healthcare workers taking care of a dying man without adequate protection. Naturally, we need to be vigilant. The virus is unlikely to mutate to become airborne but it may mutate to become far more infectious. As Nobel Prize winner Bruce Beutler has noted, we don’t have as much information as we’d like about how infectious this strain is. But, even with those caveats, the policies being advocated in some quarters are unwarranted at this stage.1

Second, the most important thing about fighting Ebola is stomping it out in Africa. If we do not stop Ebola in Africa, it will spread. It will spread to bigger cities. It will spread to other countries. Right now, we only have to worry about people who have actually been in West Africa. If this goes on and blows up to hundreds of thousands of cases or millions, we will have to worry about everyone. A house in our neighborhood is on fire. We’ve had a few cinders land on our roof. But the most important thing is not that we spray water on our roof; it’s that we put out the fire before the whole neighborhood is ablaze.

Anything that discourages healthcare workers from going to West Africa to fight this thing is likely to make things worse. Quarantine sounds like an easy burden to impose. But, in The Hot Zone, Richard Preston describes the psychological trauma that quarantine imposes on workers at USAMRIID. This is not a light burden. And isolating them in hospitals is a good recipe for getting them sick with the opportunistic diseases that infest every hospital in the world.

That having been said, it’s not irrational to be afraid of this disease. It’s not irrational to think that healthcare workers — who are the most at risk and who have close contact with dozens of people very day — should back off until they are clear. We have been very lucky so far that this hasn’t erupted in a school or something. We’ve been very lucky that infected people have sought help immediately. We have been very lucky that this hasn’t mutated to be much more infectious. All it takes is one idiot to wait until he literally drops dead in the street for this to become a serious serious problem. All the reassurances about how we can contain this are going to be cold comfort to someone who gets infected by a returning healthcare worker.

The dilemma is that treating potential victims like pariahs increases the odds of that nightmare scenario. It encourages them to hide their symptoms and to lie. So what do we do?

To me, these problems are interlocked: getting more healthcare workers to West Africa and keeping them from spreading the disease when they return are the same problem. So here is what I would propose:

  • Healthcare workers who go to West Africa should be guaranteed early spots in the line for experimental drugs like ZMAPP. These drugs are difficult to produce and will come online in small quantities (you can read a great summary of this from the aforementioned Preston). The biggest worry healthcare workers have about Ebola is not that they will lose their jobs; it’s that they will die. Promise them that they will get the best possible care. They deserve it.
  • Congress should authorize a fund to give hazard pay to healthcare workers who volunteer to fight Ebola in West Africa. We have to be careful here to not undermine the volunteer organizations that are the frontline for these epidemics. But they are being overwhelmed. They desperately need reinforcements. This fund would also pay for healthcare, life insurance and maintaining their existing jobs. This in addition to the funds needed to provide medical equipment for them to work with.
  • This fund would will also pay volunteers to undergo a three-week home quarantine on their return, during which they will be monitored for symptoms and maintain a log of any contacts.
  • We have laws that protect military reservists from being financially or legally ruined when they are called up to active duty during a war. Extend those laws to healthcare workers who volunteer to fight Ebola or are in quarantine after their return.
  • If we are going to go to war with Ebola, we have to treat it like a war. Doctors and nurses are our soldiers in this war. Pay them, reward them, protect them. Treat them in a manner that is good for public safety but also recognizes the tremendous risks they are taking and the tremendous good they are doing. Whatever else one may think of Craig Spencer or Kaci Hickox, they have risked their lives to try to save people, most of whom are a different nationality and race from them. Let’s recognize that even as we move to secure our public health.

    1. Of course, the same media telling us we are over-reacting were also saying Ebola would never come here in the first place.

    Election 2014, Ho Friggin’ Hum

    Less than a week away, thank God

    I thought I would throw up an election post, primarily to see if you guys are as apathetic and listless about next week as I am.

    It doesn’t help living in the land of the heathen. A righty living in California is about as useless as a truth/transparency czar in Obama administration. There is zero drama concerning any state wide contests. Gov. Brown is as popular here as Kim Jong-un is in N. Korea, sans the detention camps. Ditto with his partners in crime, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome and A.G. Kamela Harris. I have warned you guys about Newsome and Harris in other posts, these two are young,radical and well connected, you will no doubt see them on the national stage soon.

    I guess my biggest trepidation about next week is the potential for unfulfilled expectations. The GOP has turned snatching defeat from the jaws of victory into an art form. And when you consider what they have to offer, who is really surprised? They are the weak sisters, the party of “no”, the party of ,”Well, at least we ain’t Obama”, high praise indeed.

    An underlining fear is that all the planets align and they do take the Senate, what then? It will then be time to put up or shut up, put something on the table, establish an agenda, a voice, declare the demarcation line between divergent visions, are they up do it? Doubtful.

    Sure, the high drama of pushing Obama to a decision (something he really hates to do) to make him veto legislation that most thinking Americans can see (if presented capably) is in their and the country’s best interest, this example of the political process in action, highly entertaining.

    But this presumes an ability, a skill not yet surfaced from the GOP as of yet. They have the talent. Start with some selective ingredients from Paul Ryan’s Roadmap For American Prosperity, add some hard nose Cruz conservatism, a dollop of “less government is better government” from Rand Paul, some Trey Gowdy Rule of Law is preeminent to our way of life, some input from Mike Lee and Justin Amish, then maybe provide a fresh face to present it, someone like a Susan Martinez from NM. Nothing half assed, reactionary or marginal will do, you are only as good as your opening night. Hit your mark, know your lines, and wow them, anything less and 2016 will be another debacle.

    I am amused (and disgusted) with the lengths at which some dem candidates are using to distance themselves from President Toxic. Ferguson is being used, as well as birth control. And the Chippendale crowd (do they still have those? I think I just dated myself) is being put in play;

    Now that I got CM’s attention :)

    A great opportunity, magnificently squandered, this is why I am averting my eyes and tuning out all election predictions. I have seen this rerun before.

    Any local or state races of interest to any readers out there>

    It sucks to have a shitty religion

    Just yesterday, because my company announced changes to our benefit enrollment plans and opened up enrollment this week, I was having a discussion with a hard core lefty and Obama supporter about the fact that the costs have yet again gone up, the plan offerings have gone down, and providers have yet again been restricted. In addition to now making every employee with healthcare that has a spouse with access to her own plan (from their employer) basically pay a fine, one that amounts to the difference of having a spouse pay for her own plan, they jacked up premiums by 12% (after similar jumps for the past 3 years), widened the various plan’s donuts (that portion you have to pay before the plan kicks in again) by anywhere from 10-25%, and jacked up copays. So here is this Obamacare supporting supposedly educated moron, complaining about how he now had to pay more to cover his spouse, at the same time as his plan’s rates went up, his donut had widened, and his copays had been jacked, and worse yet, his doctor no longer was on the plan for some reason, and then blaming it, of all things, on the insurance company he used. Blah blah blah – bad insurance company! I lost it

    Despite the writing being on the wall for years now and the whole fiasco of a government healthcare takeover hitting him smack between the eyes, he doesn’t get it. We have had countless articles like this one, showing how Obamacare was going to wreck the industry, cost all of us more, provide less quality care, restrict access, and most importantly, going to end up being used by petty bureaucrats of the usual liberal variety as a tool to subjugate those pesky and ungrateful serfs. Anyway, when I pointed out that the fault lay with the idiotic law, and cornered him with the facts to prove so, he did what all liberals do: a double take, and then returned to the talking point that they always use which is how evil insurance companies screw people over, so government was the only entity able to do the right thing for the people. That’s when I asked him if he was putting his faith in that government which is responsible for idiotic things like this or this, and pointed out that other examples are in abundance of stupidity and pain that makes whatever the insurance companies do, even when they engage in it out of malfeasance, look tame.

    I basically pointed out to him that the difference between progressives, or whatever they call themselves these days, and people like me amounts to progressives being willing to bend over, grabbing their ankles, and letting the usual suspects ass rape them, over and over again, all so they could stay true to the cause. No matter how blatant the lies or how outrageous the bullshit, the progressives stick to the “social justice” nonsense and ignore reality. That was the end of the conversation. And that was simply because he didn’t like the pillars of his faith challenged. Liberalism is a mental disorder, and one that causes a lot of harm, I tell you. In the mean time we all get to suffer and pay more for it, because of these idiots.

    Those that experience true Progressive paradise on earth

    Sooner than later, if given the opportunity, will gravitate back towards capitalism, and that’s despite the inequality and unfairness, as this survey of support for a free market, especially amongst those that have firsthand experience with collectivism points out.

    Despite the fact that most people are very concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor in their country, majorities across the globe are willing to accept some inequality to have a free market system. A global median of 66% say most people are better off under capitalism, even if some people are rich and some are poor.

    Belief in the free market tends to be highest in developing countries (median of 71%). Nearly two-thirds or more in all nine of the developing economies surveyed agree that most people benefit from capitalism, including 80% of Bangladeshis, 75% of Ghanaians and 74% of Kenyans.

    Publics in emerging markets also generally support the free market. More than half in 21 of the 25 countries surveyed agree that most people are better off in a free market system even if there is some inequality, including roughly three-quarters or more in Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Turkey, Malaysia and the Philippines. Support is much lower in Colombia, Jordan, Mexico and Argentina. Argentines are the least likely to see the benefits of capitalism among all 44 countries surveyed.

    And this comes as no surprise to me. If you experience the ravages of the various incarnations of the “social justice” systems the left loves, you are far less inclined to want any more of that. That is, unless you are one of the people that thinks you will be amongst the “lucky few” that will reap all the rewards, or are part of the “unlucky many” that because you can’t do shit, like the idea that others will be hobbled and held back to the same as what you will accomplish (i.e. nothing). Others, like Argentina, which are in the death throes of the collectivist system strangling them, are far less likely to want out. That’s because until everything implodes and one is forced to walk away, letting go of these systems is very hard to do.

    What is sad to see is the usual effect of cronyism and the support for capitalism:

    Advanced economies are somewhat more divided over the free market. At least seven-in-ten in South Korea, Germany and the U.S. say most people are better off under capitalism, but fewer than half in Greece, Japan and Spain agree. In most advanced economies, people who say the gap between the rich and poor is a very big problem are much less supportive of the free market than those who worry less about inequality.

    In general, there has been moderate change in support for the free market between 2007 and 2014 among the countries surveyed in both years. The Spanish (-22 percentage points) and Italians (-16) stand out for their declining belief in capitalism over the course of the global recession. At the other end of the spectrum, the Turks (+14) and Indonesians (+13) are more likely today to say the free market is better for everyone than they were seven years ago.

    The western democracies have not had capitalism for decades. The crony systems where government is in bed with a few selected winners, using its power to make others losers, has been nothing but detrimental to economic growth, but the takers outnumbering the makers keep the system going. There was a clear indication of how this work from one of the findings in the survey:

    In some countries, lower income and less educated individuals are less likely to express support for capitalism than higher income and more highly educated people.

    What’s not said is that the “some countries” are likely all wealthy western democracies, where the takers like the system that fleeces the productive to buy their votes. Not to mention that these progressive systems in the west also see the largest economic gaps between the haves and have-nots. And that’s all by design. It’s not a coincidence or aberration that the age of Obama has seen the gap widen faster than ever. That’s by design of that system where a few elites pretend to do things for the masses.