War of the Harvard Professors

Cass Sunstein, a University Professor at Harvard Law School (and fromer Obama staffer), last week published an article vigorously disagreeing with other leftists. He took issue with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (formerly a Harvard Law prof) and another Harvard Law colleague, Larry Lessig.  He also included Bernie Sanders in his list of public figures who claim the system is rigged by big capital interests and capitalism. Money, Sunstein asserts, distorts the political process and plays an “intolerably large role in the political system.” But, using his brilliant Harvard intellect, he asserts that the wonderful reforms of the Obama administration could not have taken place if the system were rigged. No. It is a system that is distorted and polarized. There are inherent frustrations. But hard work he asserts can turn “yesterday’s losers” into “tomorrow’s winners.” Is he thereby implying that hard work can also turn yesterday’s winners into tomorrow’s losers? Sadly, this is the painful logic of the brilliant leaders of the left.

It is disquieting and at the same time irrelevant to read Sunstein insisting that the word “rigged” used by his colleagues is too extreme. One may be reminded of debates between scholars in the Middle Ages as to “how many angels were dancing on the head of a pin.” The debate among these leftist leaders is a mindless chicanery posing as sophisticated rhetorical analysis. What difference does it make if the word used is “rigged” or “distorted” if the net effect of the actions proposed by both sides is to weaken and ultimately destroy the free enterprise system and the values of individual responsibility (to be replaced by governmental responsibility) that are the bedrock of a good society?

This war of the Harvard professors as to which is more truly reformist is amazing to see. The right, for example sees Obama, Sanders, Clinton and the Harvard professors as being of one stripe. To the right, the system is rigged against the grassroots because of the dominance of left-wing ideals and policies. Additionally, political correctness is choking reality out of the discussion. Instead of reality based on principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and common sense expositions of everyday events, the left is weaving an ideological web that distorts our experience of experience. 

The realistic right would probably agree that the system is rigged, but not in the way the legalistic left sees it. The system is rigged because of a pervasive ideology held by most Democrats that is anti-automobile, anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual, anti-small business, anti-free enterprise, anti-suburban, and, well, let’s say it… anti-freedom. Shifting from the ontological understanding of freedom as a quality of being (“endowed by our Creator”) that can be enhanced, the left, following its spiritual great-great-grandfather Karl Marx, perceives freedom as an economically determined construct. 

The left wing believes that as the government controls more and more of the economy and our personal lives “for the common good”, freedom is enhanced. At the same time, the pervasive experience of un-freedom by the citizenry following said governmental expansion is perceived to be an illusion. To the left, less political and social freedom means more economic freedom which is then projected as real freedom. The fundamental idea of the legalistic left is that the federal government has to take over more and more to correct inherent abuses. But this so-called corrective expansion is expanding to a point where the man on the street feels crushed and sickened, inhibited and fatigued, disturbed and disheartened by his and her life as a citizen of these (formerly) great United States of America.

Sunstein goes through the list of legislative advances made by so-called progressives during the Obama years and in the recent past before Obama was elected. He talks about distortions of money, but what about distortions in his article? As one example, he cites improved emission standards. As an exercise, this writer multiplied the cost of yearly emissions and car inspections that are required ($37 in New York State) times 50 years (years of driving) and then multiplied that figure by 300 million people.  The dollar figure was $555 billion dollars, which is a conservative estimate.Then add the cost to gas stations to purchase emissions-testing equipment, payment of licensing fees to government to perform the tests, payments to a bureaucracy to inspect and monitor the inspections, time taken away from family and work to have said inspections, and many other ancillary costs. The cost of this simple matter of emissions controls over a 50-year period is astronomical.

There are always rationales for these takeovers and takedowns by the federal government. In order to jump-start the transportation systems of the railroads, the federal government granted huge tracts of land to railroad companies as an incentive to expand from coast to coast. However, before those grants were made, we cannot ignore that the railroads had already begun to prove themselves as viable and necessary for the growth of commerce. The railroads were faster, cheaper, and provided more comprehensive services for freight and passengers than did the Conestoga wagons or other overland transportation. But when we spend billions to support alternative energy, we are not supporting an industry that has proven itself on a small scale to be superior to existing energy sources. Likewise, closing our coal plants is undermining our energy self-sufficiency. Production, new jobs, and lower costs to producers and consumers has not been a consistent track record for windmills or solar panels. 

Prof. Sunstein boasts of his hard work and Obama’s legislative record. Ultimately, he’s boasting about further undermining the quality of life of Americans and his credentials as an elitist hair splitter. It’s a charade signifying nothing, and without either sound or fury.

Cass Sunstein, a University Professor at Harvard Law School (and fromer Obama staffer), last week published an article vigorously disagreeing with other leftists. He took issue with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (formerly a Harvard Law prof) and another Harvard Law colleague, Larry Lessig.  He also included Bernie Sanders in his list of public figures who claim the system is rigged by big capital interests and capitalism. Money, Sunstein asserts, distorts the political process and plays an “intolerably large role in the political system.” But, using his brilliant Harvard intellect, he asserts that the wonderful reforms of the Obama administration could not have taken place if the system were rigged. No. It is a system that is distorted and polarized. There are inherent frustrations. But hard work he asserts can turn “yesterday’s losers” into “tomorrow’s winners.” Is he thereby implying that hard work can also turn yesterday’s winners into tomorrow’s losers? Sadly, this is the painful logic of the brilliant leaders of the left.

It is disquieting and at the same time irrelevant to read Sunstein insisting that the word “rigged” used by his colleagues is too extreme. One may be reminded of debates between scholars in the Middle Ages as to “how many angels were dancing on the head of a pin.” The debate among these leftist leaders is a mindless chicanery posing as sophisticated rhetorical analysis. What difference does it make if the word used is “rigged” or “distorted” if the net effect of the actions proposed by both sides is to weaken and ultimately destroy the free enterprise system and the values of individual responsibility (to be replaced by governmental responsibility) that are the bedrock of a good society?

This war of the Harvard professors as to which is more truly reformist is amazing to see. The right, for example sees Obama, Sanders, Clinton and the Harvard professors as being of one stripe. To the right, the system is rigged against the grassroots because of the dominance of left-wing ideals and policies. Additionally, political correctness is choking reality out of the discussion. Instead of reality based on principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and common sense expositions of everyday events, the left is weaving an ideological web that distorts our experience of experience. 

The realistic right would probably agree that the system is rigged, but not in the way the legalistic left sees it. The system is rigged because of a pervasive ideology held by most Democrats that is anti-automobile, anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual, anti-small business, anti-free enterprise, anti-suburban, and, well, let’s say it… anti-freedom. Shifting from the ontological understanding of freedom as a quality of being (“endowed by our Creator”) that can be enhanced, the left, following its spiritual great-great-grandfather Karl Marx, perceives freedom as an economically determined construct. 

The left wing believes that as the government controls more and more of the economy and our personal lives “for the common good”, freedom is enhanced. At the same time, the pervasive experience of un-freedom by the citizenry following said governmental expansion is perceived to be an illusion. To the left, less political and social freedom means more economic freedom which is then projected as real freedom. The fundamental idea of the legalistic left is that the federal government has to take over more and more to correct inherent abuses. But this so-called corrective expansion is expanding to a point where the man on the street feels crushed and sickened, inhibited and fatigued, disturbed and disheartened by his and her life as a citizen of these (formerly) great United States of America.

Sunstein goes through the list of legislative advances made by so-called progressives during the Obama years and in the recent past before Obama was elected. He talks about distortions of money, but what about distortions in his article? As one example, he cites improved emission standards. As an exercise, this writer multiplied the cost of yearly emissions and car inspections that are required ($37 in New York State) times 50 years (years of driving) and then multiplied that figure by 300 million people.  The dollar figure was $555 billion dollars, which is a conservative estimate.Then add the cost to gas stations to purchase emissions-testing equipment, payment of licensing fees to government to perform the tests, payments to a bureaucracy to inspect and monitor the inspections, time taken away from family and work to have said inspections, and many other ancillary costs. The cost of this simple matter of emissions controls over a 50-year period is astronomical.

There are always rationales for these takeovers and takedowns by the federal government. In order to jump-start the transportation systems of the railroads, the federal government granted huge tracts of land to railroad companies as an incentive to expand from coast to coast. However, before those grants were made, we cannot ignore that the railroads had already begun to prove themselves as viable and necessary for the growth of commerce. The railroads were faster, cheaper, and provided more comprehensive services for freight and passengers than did the Conestoga wagons or other overland transportation. But when we spend billions to support alternative energy, we are not supporting an industry that has proven itself on a small scale to be superior to existing energy sources. Likewise, closing our coal plants is undermining our energy self-sufficiency. Production, new jobs, and lower costs to producers and consumers has not been a consistent track record for windmills or solar panels. 

Prof. Sunstein boasts of his hard work and Obama’s legislative record. Ultimately, he’s boasting about further undermining the quality of life of Americans and his credentials as an elitist hair splitter. It’s a charade signifying nothing, and without either sound or fury.