Cynde Sears Responds to Pun Salad

Ouroboros - The Lion and the Snake I got e-mail from Cynde Sears in response to last Sunday's Phony Campaign Update. If you'd like to read that first, go ahead. I'll wait.

Ah, good. You're back. Here's her response:

Unlike other responses within the blogosphere to my letter to the Washington Post, I found yours a bit charming and silly, not mean or vindictive. But I would like to correct one detail. I would not likely be sipping lemonade while folks earned a living working in my garden - don't care for it, to be honest. No, I would likely be drinking a fine Spanish cava, as I did while enjoying roast suckling pig in one of the finest restaurants in Segovia, Spain, as I did just this afternoon while on holiday. Or perhaps sipping a dram of the world's finest Scotch, as I did while on holiday in Edinburgh this spring.

Brief comment here: I think Mitt, whose behavior was under discussion, is more of a lemonade kind of guy. (Although he might make it with Perrier.)

You see, even as a liberal, I can make money, open a business, have significant savings and a good retirement, send my child to the college of his choice, take European vacations at least once a year -- and still feel that when given a choice between being cheap and giving people meaningful work that pays well, I will always choose to share my good fortune. If Romney will not support three or four workers with his hundreds of millions, why would any reasonable person conclude he would spend what it takes -- from either the public or private sectors -- to put millions to work? His penury and personal greed reflect exactly what's happening in this country. Major corporations are acting like Romney: putting more money in the bank while depriving people of work, thereby contributing to our national economic malaise. They sit on record profits and won't hire. Like Romney, they are cheap. And I don't care for cheap people.

While my original post took Cynde Sears to task for "irritating judgmentalism", her response caused me to regret that a little. Although my mostly-libertarian politics should imply a live-and-let-live attitude, I can be kind of judgmental myself.

[OK, stop laughing.]

And when you're judgmental about the judgmentalism of others, the whole enterprise turns into a sort of Ouroborosian dining on one's own tail, and I have no idea what sort of wine would go well with that.

So, although I'm a lousy Christian, I reread Matthew 7:1-5 and will try to take that to heart, for at least the next few minutes.

I still think her criticism of others' behavior is economically misguided. Like many who claim the "liberal" label these days, Cynde Sears looks at the economic decisions of other people—from "major corporations" down to individuals like Mitt Romney—and thinks: I could do a better job than that.

Even occasional readers know where I sit on that topic: scale up that attitude, add political power, and you find yourself in the Choomwagon riding down the Road to Serfdom. Again, see David Boaz for more specificity.

But the "cheap people" comment caused me to recall an even more appropriate response: this classic Slate article from Steve Landsburg, who mused on the economics of Ebenezer Scrooge-like behavior, the kind that Cynde Sears finds so distasteful. Brief excerpt:

Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What could be more generous than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate unfilled, leaving more fuel for others to burn and more food for others to eat? Who is a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?


In this whole world, there is nobody more generous than the miser--the man who could deplete the world's resources but chooses not to. The only difference between miserliness and philanthropy is that the philanthropist serves a favored few while the miser spreads his largess far and wide.

If you build a house and refuse to buy a house, the rest of the world is one house richer. If you earn a dollar and refuse to spend a dollar, the rest of the world is one dollar richer--because you produced a dollar's worth of goods and didn't consume them.

Christmas is coming, so I suggest you Read The Whole Thing™. God bless Us, Every One!

Last Modified 2012-10-13 8:53 AM EDT