Monday, June 01, 2009

And yet: Why Satire Is Dead Part #blazoon.

THESE people are, apparently, completely serious. No, really. "The Young Cons." From Dartmouth*. Word to your, uh, alma mater, yo. -clap- ...pause... -clap.-

From their blog:

Stirring up much debate is the verse in the Young Con Anthem:

“Three thing taught me conservative love,
Jesus, Ronald Reagan plus Atlas Shrugged”

This comment is similar to other responses we've received from the video. Yes, we know that Ayn Rand was an atheist, however, she preached the power of the individual and personal responsibility just as Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr.

...I understand why you believe Jesus' values to be liberal.. "he was weak on defense (turn the other cheek), big on social programs (give to the poor), harsh on the wealthy (nearly impossible for the rich man to enter heaven), soft on punishment (he who is without sin, cast the first stone), and pro-taxes (render unto Caesar what is his)" 1

However, Jesus does not ask government to make these commitments. Rather, he requests each individual... to choose out of their free will, from their heart, and because they want to... give up the possessions which they have and "follow Him." The message we receive from Jesus is that people should “give up” their possessions. He did not urge the government to make this commitment.

Supply Side Jesus approves of this message:

The ceiling cats, however, are merely confused. As are the Great Old Ones, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Moses -and- his Burning Bush, baby Jesus, pre-teen Jesus, Jesus H. Christ (third listed in the phone book), Joseph the Carpenter from Brooklyn Heights, nine out of ten dentists, and, well, just a bunch of other people.

*am I the only one who now automatically thinks "Slytherin" every time she sees "Dartmouth?" For several reasons?

pre-emptive ETA: no, I didn't actually make it to the end, either. Shiny nickel to anyone who can. Maybe something awesome happens. Maybe.


EthylBenzene said...

Yes because young conservatives are JUST LIKE Martin Luther King, Jr.

~head asplode~

CrackerLilo said...

Oh, this hurts! Next time Future Stepdad brags on his Dartmouth education, I'm showing him this.

Vanessa said...

I lolled.

It made me thing of this.

Trinity said...

Are people really convinced that this isn't an epic joke?

Trinity said...

I mean, "I'm on my *hands and knees* praying for salvation"? Satire's pulse seems strong to me.

Nick said...

A few thoughts come to mind:

Lol! That is a weird video. The pairing of those three figures is sort of comedic and totally intellectually superficial ~ yeah, they all preached individual responsibility in a vague generic sense.

On the serious side; I have a real beef with their pairing of Reagen and Rand. To let it go unremarked upon would not be in my "nature" ( :

Here goes:

Ayn Rand repudiated American conservatism. She considered Reagen a "moral monster" and thought there was "no inspiration to be found in the God-family-tradition swamp". Her philosophy does indeed counsel a person to avoid all religious faith. The recent selective adoption of her rhetoric by Christianist conservative pundits is very misleading. Rush Limbaugh would never quote her on prostitution decriminalization, because that likely won't go over well with the people giving him his ratings. Rand thought of herself as having transcended the American liberal-conservative dualism. She considered herself a radical for an unknown ideal of a social system. It's really irritating to see Objectivists and Libertarians cozying up to the cesspool that is the mainstream right. This video's pairing of Reagen and Rand is the sad result. The best individuals I know inspired by Ayn Rand are so far apart in terms of fundamentals from conservative Christianity. A person would never rationally arrive at the conclusions of James Dobson using Rand's philosophic methodology.

And to all you leftists out there: Rand called National Review the most dangerous magazine in America. How's that for image improvement? ( :

Nick said...

Haha I am imagining a new conservative bible with supply side Jesus in it ( :


belledame222 said...

Vanessa: awesome. love the white denim.

Trin: you know, see topic title? I JUST CAN'T TELL ANYMORE *wild sob* but, no, I think they're "serious," insofar as utter assclowns can be serious. That is, they take themselves seriously.

the "Tea Partay" vid actually comes off a lot more plausible, which is these days usually the sign that it's a joke. alas.

"strange days indeed..."

belledame222 said...

speaking of which: the Bruno/Eminem thing, which absolutely -no one- seems able to verify whether it was "real" (i.e. at least on Eminem's side, obviously Sascha Baron Cohen and MTV knew) or not. Both ways seem equally incredible. which, again, sign o' the times. either way it was kind of genius, I gotta admit. and I don't like either of them (Eminem a lot less).

Anonymous said...

Nick: sort of like assuming that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin laden were playing for the same team, in a way.

Nick said...


Pretty much...

There are surface similarities but not in depth compatibility.

Speaking of Tea Parties and taxes: what bozo in the Democratic Party dreamed up the idea of paying for a healthcare program via "sin" taxes? They want to massively increase taxes on beer/wines/so on. It tis a secularized religion where drinking too "much" must be made more expensive for the "proles". In fact, the origins of it are arguably the Christian idea of temperance and not clouding the mind. Some of the early paternalistic individuals in the Progressive movement backed similar things for that reason e.g. banning beer/wine/entirely. The spirit lives on in the expansion of the drug war to smoking.

Nick said...

Heh I guess that's another topic. I just thought of it when Belle mentioned the Tea Party video ~ which I must now see.

If anyone wants to know more, then here's a good blog post:

That should avoid me spamming the thread with history lectures ( :

Alon Levy said...

Nick: nowadays, the justification for sin taxes is public health. I don't think Nicholas Kristof would have any trouble arguing that Prohibition failed to achieve its goals while creating the mafia, while cigarette taxes have succeeded in curbing cigarette use and created no black market.

Nick said...


Well there is some black market trade in untaxed cigs? I know some radical libers. who'd probably engage in it to be able to have affordable cigs ~ sales tax being generally regressive and all. It hits poor people hard.

I just read your political history on Belle's introductions post. It's cool that we have somewhat of a similar past ~ having been a "radlib" in the sense of a left-wing anarchist myself at one point.

I am a friend of Thomas Szasz's critique of the therapetuic state, so the public health principle generally fails to sway me ~ not because people shouldn't have to unwillingly suffer unhealthy externalities. I completely reject across the board the idea that the state should play coercive social worker or physician. It has a generally messanic religious feeling to it ~ even when nominally secular. The positing of an end state similar to Tolstoy's Kingdom of God to be reached through sacrifice to communal authority and state force ~ i.e. progress.

When politicians invoke public health or the "public interest" more generally, they tend to mean those individuals who agree with them or their own conviction about what said interest is. It obscures any concern with the rights or interests of disagreeable individuals being trampled.

So the deterrence of "sin" as defined by medical authorities isn't a proper role of government for me. The concrete issue of whether "sin" taxes work in achieving the principle of paternalistic deterrence of "sin" is irrelevant to my assessment of their validity ~ except to perhaps make a general point about the imprudence of physical force. I just reject the implicit conceptual principle upon which such taxation is allegedly justified. Without such a principled argument, the repeal of P might never have happened ~ if it had actually ended drinking. A liberal Jeffersonian conception of the individual's inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness rendered it null.

As a side note, I am not trying to debate the principled desirability of government funded healthcare here ~ just the "sin" taxation proposal to pay for it.

Ok. I've established myself as the guy who turns all of Belle's posts into an academic seminar by now.

( :

There is some relevance to the video here though ~ given the pragmatic backlash against certain forms of taxation by conservatives lately.

Alon Levy said...

The backlash against Prohibition was intimately related to its failure. It wasn't led by libertarians, who as a movement only came into existence after the New Deal, but by pragmatists and moderates of all stripes. If it had succeeded in curbing drinking, it probably would've remained in effect (and given the effect of alcohol on crime, I'm not sure it'd have been such a bad idea).

Szasz makes a lot of criticisms of health care, mostly about psychiatry, which he attacks in roughly the same manner Bjorn Lomborg attacks climatology. I don't think he's ever argued against publish health policies meant to reduce infant mortality or increase life expectancy, which are considered as legitimate as economic growth as state goals; according to Amartya Sen, these are in fact worthier goals since they enhance freedom. It's not Jeffersonian, but then again, if Jeffersonian ideals had prevailed, the US would've remained agrarian and backward.

Nick said...

My point was that it's not the job of the government to paternalistically prevent me from shortening my life expectancy and other things involving my health ~ that's a very private thing. The consistent implementation of that would involve a mandatory social worker standing over you while you take a shower ~ to make sure you don't fall. If I want to peacefully live dangerously, then it's not ok for somebody to come bash me over the head for it and drag me off to jail ~ and potentially shoot me as a resistor. That's what government power amounts to ~ just plain old force. The excuse of "I love you and am just trying to help you" is what an abusive parent would say to a child ~ very patriarchial relationship between the state and citizens when it can coerce in the name of what's "best" for you.

It's really nobody's business whether I drink or not ~ regardless of what statistical aggregates pertaining to crime rates say. The legal system would be a dystopian nightmare with that kind of collective responsbility for crime applied. I can't sacrifice my life and pleasure due to some bozo murdering someone under the influence ~ punish them not the innocent. The U.S. has steadily declined for lack of the Jeffersonian notion being applied ~ gay marriage bans, the civil liberties trashing drug war, corporate bailouts, Gitmo, and other such evils. A proposal for rule by bureaucrats who know what's best for "us" just doesn't strike me as very liberal or Progressive. Why is the ability to choose what we put in our body and obtain it any different from a woman being able to choose an abortion? Conservatives want to control people to protect them from alleged spiritual harm. In principle: what is different about coercively regulating our life expecentaties through denying us access to the dangerous "vices" of the world?

On agarianism: I don't really have any fetish for it either. I like Jefferson's statements about individual freedom and principled concern for rights ~ the whole not being alienable thing.

Szasz is a pretty hardcore Libertarian, so I am surprised to hear what you mention ~ not sure about what he said pertaining to public health. I just think the term needs to be decounstructed. It conceals the fact that there is no strictly organic collective "public" ~ the term being a handy way to refer to a collection of interrelated but still individual people of differing value convictions about health issues e.g. I have friends in SF who enjoy using X. My stepfather doesn't think it's a smart idea for health reasons. It's still not his business to become their intrusive social worker in the name of altruism or humantarianism. I am willing to take state intervention pertaining to matters of the health of members of the public seriously. It just has to involve a non-consensual violation of a person's objective rights based boundaries e.g. pollution or a child's health being tarnished via an abusive father.

Woo Belle. Thank ye for tolerating this long winded conversation ( :

If you want, I can move it to my email account.

Nick said...

Oh forgot one thing:

Yeah, it's true that economic growth increases freedom. Under the right circumstances, I'd agree about legal action on health issues being a boon to freedom ~ pollution based concerns.

Nick said...

I came off more belligerently defensive here than I wanted to sound ~~ just impassioned about the subject.

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