Quibble: It Was a Pre-existing Condition.

The HTML title tag on this Luther Ray Abel NR Corner post says that Republican Losers Making Asses of Themselves. True! But the actual article headline is ‘Fools and Failures’.

This prolongment of asininity is too frequent a reaction from defeated candidates and their benefactors. It’s embarrassing to watch grown men and women approximate a middle-school shooting guard’s tantrum in the aftermath of his team losing to the local Catholic institution 57–19.

After quoting a tweet from the execrable Josh Hawley:

Luther (I call him Luther) continues:

Trump and his cohort have lost what could have been won, repeatedly. By rejecting the reality and root of their failure, they continue as a fool and his court of lickspittle facsimiles — angry at all the wrong things.

A self-appointed Purgatory of pride and delusion. Sad.

Damn, that young man can write.

Briefly noted:

  • For further diagnosis, Eric Boehm wonders: Maybe Republicans Need a Policy Agenda After All?

    Brief excerpt:

    Without a hateable foil to run against, Trumpism doesn't work as a campaign strategy. It's time for Republicans to rediscover the value of actually having ideas.

    I'm not holding my breath waiting for the current GOP "base" to stop being a personality cult.

  • This may not seem related to the previous items, but: Richard Gunderman muses on the Pathologies of Victimhood.

    As I keep pointing out: this is something George F. Will observed eight years ago: "[W]hen they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate."

    And he got vilified for that too.

  • And finally, our tweet du jour.

    Why are we still there?


Last Modified 2022-11-15 7:15 AM EST

The Sack of Detroit

General Motors and the End of American Enterprise

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

This finishes up a small project: reading all the nominees for the Manhattan Institute's 2022 Hayek Book Prize. (My previous book reports: here, here, here, here, and here.) I liked this one a lot.

It's the story of how America went wrong in its prevailing attitudes toward "big business". Starting (mostly) in the 1960s, we shifted from viewing corporations favorably as providers of useful products that made our lives better to predators that foisted off defective and unsafe crap that made them billions, but killed a lot of their customers, and injured many more. The author, Kenneth Whyte, concentrates on one company, General Motors, and one skirmish in the battle: Ralph Nader's crusade to demonstrate that their latest new model, the Corvair, was "unsafe at any speed".

Whyte does an excellent job of showing the charges against GM and the Corvair were largely meritless. But their defense was drowned out by grandstanding politicians (notably, Senators Abraham Ribicoff and Robert F. Kennedy), Nader's demagoguery, and a media only too willing to go along in trashing the company.

GM didn't help its case by hiring private investigators to look into Nader's personal and professional life, trying to find something illegal, immoral, or unethical. When this came to light, Nader was able to portray himself as a brave David against the GM Goliath. Again, the media of the day ate that up.

Whyte fits this all into historical context. Nader was not the first anti-corporate crusader; he was preceded by folks like C. Wright Mills, Vance Packard, John Kenneth Galbraith, etc. And the jihad against GM was big, but the thuggish behavior of JFK (and his brother, RFK) against the steel companies in the early sixties presaged the government posing as the protector of the "little guy".

Whyte is not an anti-government crank; he grants that some things that came out of the GM-Nader conflict actually did make motoring safer. But it turned the US into an increasingly litigious and regulatory country, with measurably significant harms to economic growth. And growth is necessary to alleviate poverty, and ensure middle-class prosperity. Our political/economic/legal system is "ridiculously adversarial". And we see echos of that when "entrepreneurial" politicians rail against "Big Pharma", "Big Tech", … whatever target they imagine might give them additional power.