How stupid can you be?

It started in New York City under Mayor [Ed] Koch, and Reagan took it and ran with it. It became Reaganomics, [which then spread to] Margaret Thatcher in the UK and then across the Western world and beyond.

Ed led to Reaganism? And Maggie, in office in 1979, was directed by Ronnie, in office starting 1981?


28 thoughts on “How stupid can you be?”

  1. The movie IDIOCRACY depicts a dumbed-down future where a historical exhibit explains how Charlie Chaplin’s Nazi Party enslaved Europe.

    It’s set 500 years after the film’s release in 2006, but Mike Judge was unrealistically optimistic.

  2. You know that the linearity of time is white, Western hegemonic oppression. When a lefty requires time to be bent to make a convenient point, time can be bent.

    See also: Twitter lefties justifying 9/11 as a valid response to the Iraq invasion 2 years later.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    When it comes to Reagan the liberals (left) really do get themselves tied up. Or as the great man was won’t to say:

    Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

    And he was no Johnny-come-lately to the classic liberaly cause. I don’t know when he first used that aphorism, or even if he was first, but that quote is from one of his 1964 speeches I was listening to recently. It is a classic:

    Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

    And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

    This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

    You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: [up] man’s old — old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

    In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the “Great Society,” or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they’ve been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, “The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism.” Another voice says, “The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.” Or, “Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.” Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as “our moral teacher and our leader,” and he says he is “hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document.” He must “be freed,” so that he “can do for us” what he knows “is best.” And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.”

    Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as “the masses.” This is a term we haven’t applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government” — this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don’t control things. A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

  4. BiND

    That speech seems like a creature from another planet addressing a different species. How life has changed.

    I had to stop reading Peggy Noonan and Thomas Sowell. They nearly made me weep in frustration.

    The modern reaction to such people is TL:DR.

  5. BiND – great quote from a great speech by a great man. I can get depressed if I’m not careful here – this country and indeed the whole of the world are very close to fucked, if not actually fucked. The thing they have managed to achieve is to throw open the prison and have people desperate to march in.

  6. The BiND

    Brilliant speech and thank you for quoting it. Nothing gets me sadder than when people (Often otherwise intelligent people) come up with the phrase ‘Reagan was a moron’ – and point to the satirical show ‘Spitting Image’ as evidence. In the days when the Telegraph was still something resembling a serious publication (2004) they ran an editorial on the great man’s death: ‘A president worthy of Mount Rushmore’

    If Trump wanted to seal re-election he could do worse than commission a fifth carving on the monument, not least because of the idiotic reaction it would likely provoke from people like the blogger portrayed in this absurd article

  7. This article is almost Murphyian in the gems it yields. I wonder if Steve is around to fisk it for us?

    ‘And then there was a white backlash against those attempts to correct. So what was happening leading up through the ’70s is that New York City was becoming a social democracy. It was becoming a city that was geared towards taking care of its people, putting money into public resources, public parks, libraries, public housing.’

    It was all Whitey’s fault – even then. To quote W.B Yeats:
    ‘Come fix upon me that accusing eye, I thirst for accusation;

    ‘What had previously been a government for the people became a government that was catering to big business, big real estate developers like Donald Trump, and tourism. They took that public money that was going to the poor and they gave it to the wealthy in the form of different types of tax breaks or other incentives for developers.’

    I don’t think even Murphy is this historically ignorant although he runs him close.

    ‘Certainly in the past 10 years, I’ve seen it more. I want to be clear that I think we all should be encouraged shop locally more than we than we do. The problem is when the people who are empowered in the system are using it to distract us and shift the blame onto the individual because they don’t want us to join together. They don’t want us to become a collective and go after the source. ‘

    IF ‘they’ are trying to prevent New Yorkers banding together they are doing a poor job of it based on my 4 years in the city…..

    One of Margaret Thatcher’s famous slogans was there is no such thing as society, that we are all just individuals. Once you take that message into your cells, what happens is you become purely competitive. It’s every man and woman for him or herself, and that also has a relationship to consuming.’

    A gross calumny on Thatcher but given the guy’s ignorance on New York to expect him to have any wider understanding is a bridge too far.

    This is a depressing piece for sure – I’d suggest anyone with these beliefs be forcibly moved to Pyongyang to experience the reality….

  8. How I would love to make those wanting us to stay in the EU to read that.

    I just had a discussion with a colleague about the Irish ‘border’ – she’s almost beside herself that there will ‘have’ to be a border if we leave the EU (and therefore as reason to stay in). I said that the EU has said it would not put one up, as has the Irish government, and the UK. So I went on to ask “Who would put it up then, and why?”.

    She: “Ireland would put one up.”
    Me: “But Leo Varadkar has explicitly said that Ireland will not” I replied.
    She: “But, perhaps they will *have* to put one up”. she said
    Me: “Who would do that?”
    She: “The EU”
    Me:” So, you’re saying that a democratically elected leader would HAVE to do what a bunch of unelected civil servants* say he has to do”
    She: “If that is what the rules are, then… yes”.

    I looked at her in a kind of frustrated way. This was then seemingly interpreted as me not being able to come up with an argument against what she seemed to think was a killer line.

    I had to say “Look, I’m really stuck for words not because I don’t have an argument and I’m confused, but because you really seem to be saying that you actually approve of this set-up, this lack of democracy. Are you saying that the Irish people would actually be happy with a border. They wouldn’t”.

    She: “Well, if that were the case, they would have to vote out Varadkar then”.
    Me: “But… there would be no point as ANY leader would have to put one up (form what you are saying): there is literally no point in holding elections, can’t you see that?”
    She: *shrug* “Well, if it is the rules…”
    Baffling AND frustrating. I just had to give up at that point.

    Here’s the killer: she moved from Poland – in the early 80s – to live in the UK. And I am glad she did – genuinely. A lovely person (in other matters!) smart, and funny and good fun. But utterly, UTTERLY bought by the EU.

    I just cannot understand how people are walking in a zombie-like fashion being pro-EU with that kind of thinking going on.

    I’ll have to show her that beautiful (and, I think it IS beautiful) speech of Ronnies, that BiND has posted above.

    * in EVERY conversation now, this is how I refer to the EU, regardless of if I am talking to remainers or leavers.

  9. FFS – I meant to open my lengthyish post above by referring to BiNDs post with Ronnies speech slapped in it – I’m so wound up I lost my marbles for a bit there!

  10. @Lockers

    I find a useful prism is that we are leaving the “present and future EU, or whatever the EU is going to evolve into”. If you are voting in a once-in-a-generation referendum, or once-in-many-decades, only thinking in terms of what the EU is today would be missing the point.

    If you ask someone “what do you think the EU will have become in thirty years’ time? And do you think that Britain will still be a good fit for it?” then there would still be some people who would enthusiastically say yes. But perhaps not so many as would say Britain is a poor fit today.

  11. Baffling AND frustrating. I just had to give up at that point.

    You may be reading too much into it. I see a female unwilling to concede any argument whatsoever against anyone, so the country can burn before she does so.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset


    AIUI, from Speccie podcast, in the event of a no deal the WTO will insist that the EU will have to erect a border because that’s the CU boundary.

  13. But as per Tim’s post on this way back can’t we all just say well yes there’s a border and here is where the line is, even out up some new markers/signs then just merrily carry on as we like

  14. @Lockers, November 22, 2018 at 4:51 pm


    It’s impossible to reason with Remoaners or with AGW/CO2 Fanatics.

    The EU and Global Warming are two non-exclusive religions joined at the hip.

  15. @MBE – I like that. Take them through the trajectory of the EEC / EU / EC over the last 40 years, project into the future, mix in a bit of recent pronouncements from Micron and Merkin about EU army etc… good thinking. I’ll do that.

    @Rob – I see what you are saying but she is most reasonable about most other things. She must be blinded by trinkets dangled in front of her by the EU. It’s like these people are hypnotised.

    @BiND – thanks for the Ronnie Post sbove. Re Speccie podcast regarding WTO insisting on border… well, that is news to me. I am genuinely not sure if I believe it, but I will try to find the podcast and listen to it (what podcast / when?). AFAYK, does the WTO insist on ‘borders’ elsewhere? I assume it insists on one now elsewhere (or is it ‘the’ customs union it targets?). If so, AFAYK, what does it consist of? The kind of ‘border’ that exists at, say port in Singapore and Felixstowe… i.e. mainly electronic, pre-approved stuff going through? Genuine questions. As I say, I will look up podcast.

    @PCAR – the religion thing has been in my mind for a very long time regarding AGW, and moreso over last year with the Brexit thing. Utterly baffles me, as does religion.

    I fucking love reading this blog – a must-read every day for me! Thank you Tim 🙂

  16. Bloke in North Dorset


    “Professor O’Donoghue explains that “the harder the Brexit, the harder the border.”

    At what she calls the “very extreme” end of the spectrum is a hard border where the UK leaves with no deal and has to default to World Trade Organisation rules.

    If the UK defaults to WTO rules (using copied-and-pasted versions of the EU’s tariffs in the short term), the EU would still have to maintain its side of the border. That would require check goods coming into Ireland from the UK.

    That’s because the EU’s existence as a free trade area depends on its ability to demonstrate to the WTO that it can control its external borders properly.”

  17. The quote above from Ronnie Reagan:
    “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    I think the Great Communicator had “researched” this from another great man’s quote: Mark Twain.
    And all credit to him for doing so.

    And it’s not plagiarism if you steal from many….
    Strangely ‘National Brotherhood Week’ doesnt get played much nowadays. A shame, it pops a lot of pretentiousness 🙂

  18. @BiND

    Thanks for that. Hhhmmm… need to ponder that. Something feels not-quite-right about it. And it’s not just that it is a ‘factcheck’ by Channel Four News, nor that Professor O’Donohue’s… (from her biography): “…research focuses on public international law and constitutionalism with a particular interest in global governance and legal theory. Aoife queries the structures that enable law to regulate political governance at the international and domestic levels. Aoife’s work examines constitutionalism, tyranny, feminism, legal theory and international legal history. Aoife also researches the interaction between law and feminism, particularly within institutions such as the UN and the process of feminist judging. Currently Aoife is heavily engaged with research and policy debates on Brexit with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Aoife is also currently working on a monograph on tyranny and global governance.”

    She may be a true expert on this, she may not.

    Just found another Academic, Professor David Collins who has said that WTO may *solve* the Irish border question: from this piece “But Professor Collins said WTO rules would also solve the problem of how to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

    He said: “The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement obliges the EU to maintain as frictionless borders as possible through modern technology like pre-inspections and trusted traders, meaning that customs procedures at the Northern Ireland border should not be problematic.””

    Which I suppose would mean it would work in terms of import / export as it currently does between the UK (which is currently in EU) and other non EU countries where the trade is on WTO terms.

    Given that, it is interesting that the EU – knowing the WTO ‘rules’ – has itself said it would not (need to?) put up a hard border.

    So which of the academics is right? I have a hunch I know.

    I live not a million miles away from Felixstowe, where the majority of container movements are external to the EU, as it is I believe it is for most ports in the UK. I presume a decent proportion of those non-EU movements – if not almost all – is on WTO terms. Those containers fly in and out of there extremely quickly. I’ve seen interviews with the guys who manage Felixstowe, and they are already geared-up for with dealing with EU on WTO terms (using methods as Collins says above) – by default, as they’ve been dealing with trade external to the EU on WTO terms for years and years. Seems like all this already exists – the numbers being pushed through the electronic systems would increase – which then is an IT scaleability question, not a question of physical borders.

    So yes, I can see that the land ‘border’ would need something which can account for that work that happens at ports. Whether that means that lorries can just drive through anywhere they want (doubt it), or whether they would have to drive through certain points (and, possibly stop? for how long?) all depends on the tech: he pre-authorisation of movements of goods and how stuff is detected running over the border.

    It is good that this conversation is happening: I’ve looked into it more as a result, and becoming even more convinced that the Irish ‘border’ thing is _mainly_ bollocks, but can see that there may need to be _something_ on the border.

    More reading ‘n’ thinks needed.

  19. @Lockers, November 23, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Ports & Borders

    EU is less than half UK imports and no delays on Rest Of World (RoW) imports

    Stop this ‘Brexit cliff edge’ nonsense, By John Redwood MP

    I have heard all too many interviews by a few senior business people and their lobby group representatives telling us leaving without a deal will be “disastrous, catastrophic, falling off a cliff”. They should know better. If they wish to be credible witnesses they should cast aside wild and emotional language, and spell out exactly what they fear will happen that they think will be damaging. All too few interviewers challenge them to be precise.

    They suggest that there will be delays at the ports, especially at Dover- Calais, and these will disrupt Just In Time (JIT) systems. I do not accept there need be additional delays, but if there was a regular increased time to transit the ports, you would just ask your supplier to allow for the longer journey time so the supplies still reached you when you wanted them.

    As they fit in Chinese supplies maybe taking 40 days to arrive by sea into current complex supply chains it shows that longer journey times are not deal breakers.

    The main reason I do not expect new delays on imports is that the crucial importing port will be under UK control. There is no need for us to impose new processes and delays at the ports. We can adapt or continue the current system of checks away from the ports for any purposes we need.

    On the Dover-Calais route if more spot checks are needed on trucks then do them on the ferry or on the nearby train carrying the load through the Tunnel.

    There is plenty of competition to Dover-Calais Ro-Ro from containers, so in the unlikely event of difficulties at Calais there would other choices…

    Good points Mr Redwood.

    An excellent article:
    Proof the Remainer row over EU Customs Union is claptrap

    …The EU has warned that Brexit talks could collapse entirely if agreement cannot be reached on a way to handle £3 billion of annual North/South trade

    Felixstowe (one of many UK container ports) can smoothly handle £80 billion in trade from outside the (EU) customs union each year, is it really so hard for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to cope with a mere £3 billion?…

    NI/RoI border is a diversionary tactic May has swallowed to create a problem where none exists. £3Bn pa is chicken feed, if EU/RoI closed border it would have little impact.

    Problems at Dover, there’s Felixstowe …and Hawich, Imingham, London (inc Gateway & Tilbury); Belfast, Liverpool etc There is more trade through Port of Belfast than RoI’s largest: Dublin.

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