YES WE DID

ObamaWins.jpg

I just called Ryan at school and told him to look around, because he’ll want to remember where he was when Barack Obama was elected president.

I’m too giddy and relieved for deep thoughts, and there’s a bottle of champagne that Anne and I have been waiting to open for a long time, so I’ll just say: The nightmare is over. Now, it’s time to get to work.

(image yanked from kos)

226 thoughts on “YES WE DID”

  1. @ Craig Steffen:
    The core is that the government is inherently an amoral, irrational and ignorant entity.
    It is 100% feasible that had the government allowed utilities and private industry to develop domestic fossil fuel reserves and nuclear energy the last ~30 years, we’d be 100% free of dependence of OPEC oil.
    As to your assertion of concentration of wealth without governmental oversight. In a true capitalist environment, it’s actually not possible. Only when the force of government is used to stifle competition, enact various laws, or otherwise prevent the free exchange of private property does concentration become a problem.

  2. Greetings from the other side of the 49th! For 8 years I’ve increasingly felt like I was living next to the asylum. Now I have hope that you’re not all maniacs :)
    By all means, celebrate! But just remember, Obama is a political creature: he got to this point by playing the game well. Don’t expect miracles, he still has to work within the system that currently exists. I believe he can do much good, but don’t put him so high on a pedestal that he can’t live up to the hype.
    And George, it’s nuc-lee-ar, you butthead!

  3. I was reading a short article on the world’s reaction to Obama’s win, and this quote reduced me to tears.
    “If it were possible for me to get to the United States on my bicycle, I would.” — Joseph Ochieng, a 36-year-old carpenter who celebrated in Nairobi’s Kibera shantytown, one of Africa’s largest slums.
    That’s almost indescribable to me. Wow.

  4. “The nightmare is over”. The nightmare has just begun. I have unplugged my TV and canceled my newspaper. I will not allow nightmares into my home.

  5. The core is that the government is inherently an amoral, irrational and ignorant entity.
    So is a computer, but that’s not an inditement of its ability to balance my check book.
    It is 100% feasible that had the government allowed utilities and private industry to develop domestic fossil fuel reserves…
    But that’s not an argument for your point.
    1) What’s preventing those industries from doing that development under regulation?
    2) What would their incentive be to develop that, with oil available dirt cheaply until a couple of years ago?
    Only when the force of government is used to stifle competition, enact various laws, or otherwise prevent the free exchange of private property does concentration become a problem.
    In a true capitalist environment, it’s actually not possible.
    That’s a absolutist statement that’s completely absurd.
    Let’s say we live in a completely capitalist, unregulated society society. I have a small shop where I build items, so I have a shop and tools and some infrastructure. One winter I figure out how to build something that no one else knows how to, like a furnace. I crank up production with some of my friends and sell enough to become fairly wealthy.
    Now someone could eventually buy one, reverse engineer it, and start producing them and undercut my business, so there’s an evening-out mechanism. However, if I can produce enough in the time it takes for someone else to start production, then I can under-cut their price, have them killed/buy their shop/whatever, and further consolidate my monopoly on the market.
    I agree there are certainly forces that act against concentration, but a large enough sum of wealth can still become a resource in and of itself to produce yet further wealth in one place.

  6. The nightmare has just begun. I have unplugged my TV and canceled my newspaper. I will not allow nightmares into my home.
    Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out of the country. We’ll miss you!

  7. @ Craig Steffen:
    Your computer doesn’t balance your checkbook – you do by entering the necessary data.
    If you’re guaranteed business (as most utilities are granted a monopoly) what impetus is there to innovate?
    Your hypothetical situation has a profoundly fundamental flaw – you are not special (no offense :). It is a 100% certainty that myriad other individuals would come up with similar or competing inventions which no amount of wealth could squash or consolidate.

  8. It is a 100% certainty that myriad other individuals would come up with similar or competing inventions
    For small/simple/easy inventions, yes. As a resource gets more physically rare, there’s the increasing possibility for individuals/organizations to form a controlling conglomerate. Access to…say, spring (source of water). In a dry climate, that could be brokered to unassailable power if controlled properly.
    If you’re guaranteed business (as most utilities are granted a monopoly) what impetus is there to innovate?
    Innovation is driven by advantage/necessity. For instance, if you think/know that oil will run out or at least become more rare, it is to your advantage to develop other sources of energy. A monopoly is guaranteed customers; it can’t be guaranteed a supply if its resource.

  9. Your computer doesn’t balance your checkbook – you do by entering the necessary data.
    The computer is not a passive vessel. It’s an active participant. The computer can perform calculations that I don’t know how to do without it.
    The core is that the government is inherently an amoral, irrational and ignorant entity.
    You’re speaking as if the government is an entity distinct from the people that make it up. However, a government is made up of individuals who do have morals, and the people can decide to use their morals to guide their actions as actors on behaf of the government.

  10. @ Craig S:
    Again, your scenario is implausible. In the theoretical, How is that such a resource become so critical if it is so rare to begin with (as in only one spring)? In the practical, What would stop others from finding other springs or sources of water (as in importing from afar) when the price reach the point that it is attractive for others to enter the market?
    Utilities (not talking energy/oil companies) are guaranteed customers thereby guaranteeing income stream to secure resources.

  11. SAL9000,
    What would stop others from finding other springs or sources of water (as in importing from afar) when the price reach the point that it is attractive for others to enter the market?
    It’s not an either/or situation. If you control and thus artificially introduce a shortage in a resource, you can price it higher than it would need to be, but lower than would cause someone else to develop an alternative supply. By doing this in several stages, you can bootstrap up to a position of powerful influence. Again, the Standard Oil model is the example. Undercut the smaller guy until their market is destroyed, then overprice to profit.
    Your overarching assertion that it’s “impossible” for that to happen only makes sense in a world where resources are infinitely liquidatable and convertible and any industry or process requires no physical overhead to maintain.
    That’s true in a global sense over the long haul, but in the short term, people have to eat, so they’ll pay more for something because its easy–that drive can be used to create scarcity and thus wealth.

  12. @ Craig S:
    That you don’t know how at present doesn’t mean you can’t – the computer is merely a proxy.
    Government is distinctly removed from morality, rationality and knowledge simply because there is no recourse or accountability should things go awry.
    That moral, rational and knowledgeable people fund, participate or lead said government doesn’t make it moral; CAN’T make it moral. These concepts can be ascribed only to those with proverbial skin in the game. There is the other practical aspect that to a point morality, rationality and knowledge are subjective – codifying such concepts for 300,000,000 defines moral hazard.

  13. Craig S:
    But now you’re introducing anti-capitalist concepts. Without illegal action to keep competitors out of the market, competitors/competition will (have to) eventually surface. In extreme cases the customers get fed up and simply move.
    That resources are needs compels rational action that much more. If a resource is that critical (like food), and baring illegal action, that higher level of demand will ensure that much more that there will be supply.

  14. @SAL9000
    That you don’t know how at present doesn’t mean you can’t – the computer is merely a proxy.
    No, it’s not. A computer can calculate things that I do not know how to. It contains KNOWLEDGE (not just information) that are unavailable to me.
    because there is no recourse or accountability should things go awry.
    Of course there is. First of all, governments usually contain their own mechanisms for such guidance. You can sue leaders for gross neglidgence.
    Also, if the government gets out of hand, you can go outside of its mechanisms. Charles I of England got his head chopped off. I would say he was, in the end, quite accountable for his actions. The government malfunctioned, and the supporting society put it right.
    codifying such concepts for 300,000,000 defines moral hazard.
    I CAN be hazardous; but it doesn’t have to be.
    This is the heart of our disagreement I think. I’m not saying that government regulation is in fallible, or universal, or even advisable. However, sometimes it can be used as an effective tool. It is not guaranteed to be good, or useful, but there’s noting that says it will always be harmful.
    Government is a social convention, a social tool. Like any tool, it can be used well, or badly. But there’s nothing about it that guarantees that it’s evil in and of itself, which is what you seem to be saying.
    A knife can be used as a murder weapon, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t create one. It’s a very nice tool for cutting down vegitation, for instance.

  15. @SAL9000,
    Without illegal action to keep competitors out of the market, competitors/competition will (have to) eventually surface.
    Ok, sure, if you live in a world where everybody always cooperates and everyone is always nice to each other and acts for the good of society and profit and is never selfish, then yes, a pure capitalist system will work. I don’t know about you, but I live in a world where that just isn’t possible or realistic for any group of interacting people more than about 2.
    If a resource is that critical (like food), and baring illegal action, that higher level of demand will ensure that much more that there will be supply.
    Supply can run out. If you live in a village in the mountains and experience a very cold winter which makes it hard to travel and your food dries up, then everyone in the village will become cannibals or starve to death. Need does NOT guarantee supply.

  16. @SAL9000,
    Ok, wait a minute. I at least am getting too far afield.
    Your central point, I think, is that government regulation is always, unilaterally, inherently bad.
    I’m saying that it can be bad, but it can be good if managed properly. My contention is that government control can be used as a positive tool.
    Basically, I see it as a matter of efficiency. I could, I supposed, go off into the hills and live a subsistence life, live off the land, that kind of thing. No one would ever tell me what to do or how to live, but I would spend 100% of my time making food and keeping from dying.
    Wheras I now live in a society where between my relationshipos with organizations that are established by social convention (companies and the government) I live a fairly comfortable life. Because of the way government regulation is structured, I have an extremely high likelyhood that I won’t drink anything in my water that poison me or that an invading army will burn my house down around me. I pay for those luxuries by paying taxes or paying for services. I choose to participate in that system because it allows me to spend my time working in a job I like or doing other things that I think are worthwhile.
    The organizational morals of my community/society are sufficiently aligned with mine that I am comfortable with this arrangement. Over the last 8 years, I have been fairly uncomfortable with some of the things that my society has been doing, and so I’m very pleased that the latest round of impinging the member’s values on the leadership has resulted in at least a temporary direction change.
    That societal structure is certainly imperfect, but not inherently evil.

  17. Using the word Nightmare is a little melodramatic dont you think? ;0
    It kind of implies that every moment of the last eight years was a nightmare.
    No good memories either personally or professionally. Just sitting on your hands until a new president arrives.
    You shouldnt let whoever is in office affect your day to day life.
    All I know is that we get a break from the tantrums that are thrown whenever a Republican is in office.
    LOL

  18. Congratulations Wil and the rest of you.
    A lot of us out here in the rest of the world are breathing a sigh of relief — as long a GWB doesn’t start any “nukular” wars before Obama is sworn in.

    Oh, hey Wil – I saw you in Criminal Minds last night here in Australia.

  19. Craig, SAL, get a room. :-)
    Yeah, sorry Andrew. :-D Please forgive my exurberance fueled by Tuesday’s elections. This is the first time that I can remember that discussing and thinking about politics doesn’t make me want to stab people in the neck.
    Fencing match over; back to work.

  20. @wil
    Thanks for not wielding the ban-hammer after my silliness. I appreciate being able to participate.
    President-Elect Obama did it.
    Quite honestly thought the comments on wealth redistribution (Joe the plummer) were going to be the nail in the coffin … especially when followed by or coupled with the video of an Obama a supporter stating:
    “I don’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I don’t have to worry about making my mortgage payment. If I help him (Obama), he is going to help me.”
    I still can’t help but wonder if he is so much the champion the little guy and helping out those who are less fortunate, wouldn’t his personal behavior have supported those beliefs?
    I mean, if they (Obama and Biden) really cared so much about their fellow-man and helping those who are less-fortunate, you would think that their charitable giving would have reflected those values, but they didn’t. It is well reported that in the five year period (2000 – 2004) both Obama and Biden gave well, well below 1% of their income to charitable organizations. Biden carries this pattern forward to this very day, while Obama (kudos to him) has used proceeds from his book deals to push his overall giving into the 4% range.
    Ultimately, the government is an insturment of the people and it is up to the people to keep them on the straight and narrow.
    Peace !

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