IT is said by Jeremy Bulow and Kenneth Rogoff in the Wall Street Journal that the Greek "Yanis Varoufakis, who was pushed out as finance minister on Monday, prided himself on using game theory in his negotiations." Could be.
But game theory also includes the Prisoner's Dilemma. In a repeated game the Prisoner's Dilemma shows that in a long-term relationship it always pays to be trustworthy. But in a final transaction with another party it always pays to cheat.
So I get what the national socialist leaders of Greece's Syriza Party are doing. They are doubling down, playing double or quits. They are playing the final game where it pays to cheat. Because it is not their money that they are playing with.
They are playing the 150 year old game of the left: pay up or we will teach you a lesson.
And France's socialist President Hollande and the lefty Spanish party Podemos, and Italian Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement are all agreed that the EU (i.e., the Germans) should pay up and keep the Greek pension checks coming.
But I am interested in my own game theory, that every government is an armed minority in some territory that supports itself by rewarding its supporters with taxes on the work and wealth of the people in its sovereign territory.
The corollary of my theory is that you must think of the government and its supporters as an army on the march. Never mind about the battles: the first priority of the generals of the army must be to keep its soldiers fed and clothed. Because once the food gives out and the boots fall apart then the army will collapse and the generals won't have an army any more.
Now you understand what the July 5 Greek referendum was about. It was held to rally the troops one more time, to get them to forget for a week that they are running out of food and medicines, to keep the Syriza army in being for one more week so that the Greek government could keep up its rhetoric and keep threatening the EU and its bureaucrats.
The other lefty European parties have chimed in because that's their game too. To keep marchn' and protestin' in the faith that disruption will shake out new benefits from the political system. For now.
I use these metaphors for a reason: to demonstrate the cruelty and injustice of the left's politics. They use their supporters like soldiers in the armies of old, when poor villagers went for a soldier because they were starving. They use them for their power games, but in the end they leave them to die by the side of the road, sick and starving, as the generals of armies have ever done.
Once you accept the government's free stuff you are starting on the road that leads to Greece. You are placing a life bet that the government's checks will keep coming. But the trouble is that you are placing a bet like the starving yokel of the 18th century. You are forsaking the chance to become self-supporting with work and service, and marching down the road to nowhere, hoping that the government's commissary keeps the food coming.
In the aftermath of the July 5 referendum the Greeks were laughing and chanting in the streets. For what? That they were brilliantly manipulated by their leaders for one more week?
In the end, such leaders end up like Robespierre, sent to the guillotine and reviled as the "dirty Maximum."
ALL of us peasants just want the Greeks to be kicked out of the Euro so we can get on with our lives. But James Delingpole doesn't think so. Because, as was true of the Soviet Union, you are not allowed to leave the Euro or the EU. That's because "we" are the Ruling Class of educated experts and "we" will decide when it's time to go. The annoying thing about Syriza and the Greek Prime Minister...
WE'VE seen this all before. It was back in the 1960s that the Democrats got a big presidential win and passed a bunch of big-government programs. And the left figured that they were going to take over. There were the hippies and the New Left and Cloward-Piven. The hippies were going to make love, not war. The New Left, inspired by Frankfurt School acolyte and One Dimensional Man Herbert Marcuse ...
THE big takeaway on Obamacare is the mindless ruling-class faith in bureaucracy and regulations. Set up an administrative system, the Obamateers seems to think, and equitable benefits will result. Of course that is pure fantasy. What really happens when a government sets up an entitlement system is that people learn how to game it. Like welfare. Like Medicare. And the costs spiral out of sight....
Download latest e-book draft here.
A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elitethe spectre of conservatism.
The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasnt supposed to be like this.
Government and the Technology of Power
If you scratch a social reformer, you will likely discover a plan for more government.
Business, Slavery, and Trust
Business is all about trust and relationship.
Humanity's Big Problem: Freebooters and Freeloaders
The modern welfare state encourages freeloaders.
The Bonds of Faith
No society known to anthropology or history lacked religion.
A Critique of Social Mechanics
The problem with human society reduced to system.
The Paradox of Individualism
Is individualism the gospel of selfishness or something else?
From Multitude to Civil Society
The larger the government, the smaller the society.
The Answer is Civil Society
In between the separated powers.
The Greater Separation of Powers
If you want to limit power then you must limit power.
Conservatism Three by Three
Conservatism, political, economics, and cultural.
The Culture of Involvement
Imagining lives without the welfare state
The Poor Without the Welfare State
Can the poor thrive without the welfare state?
The Middle Class Without The Welfare State
How would the middle class live without all those middle-class entitlements?
Liberals and the Welfare State
Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.
From Freeloaders to Free Givers
The path to the future lies through moral movements.
The Real Meaning of Society
Broadening the horizon of cooperation in the last best hope of man on earth.
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
After a year of President Obama most Americans understand that the nation is on the wrong track. But how do we find the right track? Americans knew thirty years ago that liberalism was a busted flush. Yet Reaganism and Bushism seemed to be less than the best answer.
But where can we turn? Where are the thinkers and activists of the old days? Where do we find the best ideas? And how do we persuade our present ruling class to loosen its grip on power so that we can move the locomotive of state back onto the right track?
With all of our problems it seems like the worst of times.
In fact, this is the best of times. Under the radar a generation of great thinkers have been figuring out what went wrong and conjuring up visions of a better future. This book, "An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism" is an introduction to their ideas, and to the great future that awaits an America willing to respond to their call.
Although this book is addressed to all Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, and looks to a nation that transcends our present partisan divide, I must tell you that liberals will have the most difficulty with the book. The reason is simple. I am asking liberals to give up a lot of the power they have amassed in the last century. But we are all Americans, and we must all give up something for the sake of the greater good.
I am Christopher Chantrill and I am writing this book in full view. I'll be blogging on the process and the ideas, and I'll be asking you, dear readers, to help. Read the blog. Read the articles as they come out on American Thinker and ponder over the draft chapters here on this site.
Then send me your reactions, your thoughts, and your comments. You will help more than you know.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values