Friday, February 26, 2010

The Law of Comparative Shitholes II

Some of you may remember the post here about Pat Anderson’s original exposition of the rule:

It is an iron law of economics that given a choice between two shitholes, the wealthy will always flee to the larger one.

Now, Jason Lewis beats the same drum with a criticism of the Growth and Justice op-ed in the StarTribune last Sunday. His screed is full of contempt for the idea that any increase in the level of public spending in Minnesota may be necessary — not mere disagreement, but venom and bombast: Jason Lewis’ trademarks to be sure.

[caution: topical swerve ahead]

Jason Lewis is an interesting case; we may have to refer him to Sigmund Spot. What is the source of his alienation? Did he have cold and distant parents? Was he forced to share his favorite toy with a sibling?

Whatever the cause, he’s certainly got a bad case of alienation toward the society he lives in, and his adopted state, too. Lewis obviously feels no membership or filial duty to the society that raised him up; he is truly a legend in his own mind.

But when societal alienation reaches a critical mass, really bad things can happen. In searching around on the topic, I came across this:

We should have said that the most intelligent are the first to be alienated, when the society is one that is still viable—one that still has some hope of making itself over.  Alienation at the lower layers of the pyramid brings blind, inchoate rebellion and nihilistic violence, with possibly some reconstruction afterwards, but then only in the terms of some narrow, partisan emotion.

If you don’t see the potential for this in the modern Tea Party, the people who listen to Beck and Lewis every day, you just aren’t paying attention.

That’s a picture from the New York Times, accompanying an article with the hed Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right. It is an interesting exercise to enlarge the photograph to read the signs carried; the one with the red circle and the line through it, for example: the words struck through are “income tax.” There’s another one thanking Glenn Beck.

We are well past the point where the Tea Partiers are just loveable rustics. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and our own Michele Bachmann and Jason Lewis have indeed tapped a vein of alienation and are exploiting it for their own personal self-aggrandizement, and certainly not because they think they’re going to improve the lives of the Tea Partiers or anybody else.

Beck, Palin, Bachmann, and Lewis: it would be hard to find a more cynical bunch.

But let’s return for a moment to the thrust of Lewis’s argument: people will leave the state because taxes, excuse me, “tat sez,”  are too high. But Lewis himself left two states, Colorado, where he is from originally, and North Carolina, where he moved a few years ago in a huff about the taxes in Minnesota, to move to or return to Minnesota. Perhaps he just forgot about the taxes in Minnesota.

Or maybe there are other factors at work, too. You know, that‘s probably it. It is really funny that carpet baggers like Jason Lewis, Annette Meeks, John Kline, Bill Cooper, Norm Coleman, Ron Carey and Katherine Kersten all moved here and want to change Minnesota so that it resembles whatever shithole they came from.

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