Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Our Well-Informed Electorate

Can you distinguish between a Keynesian and a Kenyan? Then you know more than these pitiable and dangerous fools, who showed up a the "Rally for Sanity" to support Obama, but obviously haven't taken the trouble to do any serious thinking about the great issues of the day. I say they are "dangerous" because their vote counts just as much as yours does.

Think about that!


SINVILLE said...

Are they any more dangerous than those who voted for Kennedy because he was young, and handsome?
Or Bush because his daddy was President? Or Schwarzenegger because they liked his movies? Logic fail Lester. Every generation has had kids voting for idiotic, and uninformed reasons.

Lester Hunt said...

Tsk, tsk. Did I say Democrats are more foolish, irrational, or ignorant than Republicans? Reading fail, Sinville.

Anonymous said...

Some of them live right in our neighborhoods!

My co-worker was telling me about the election ballot in NYC which accommodates multiple foreign languages and had to be read with a magnifying glass.

In all honesty the video clip was a good psychology experiment. Like shouting "fire" in the movie theatre, people are conditioned to react. If the guy had a sign saying, "Obama is a cannibal", people would have replied, "No I believe he's not a fiscal cannibal but he is a social liberal".

SINVILLE said...

Lester, I said kids a equally foolish across time! I did not imply you referred to D or R but youth themselves.

Thou knowst the oer-eager vehemence of youth,How quick in temper, and in judgement weak.

I want a gold star sticker-the shinny one!

Todd said...

It has been argued that FDR's spending programs did not get the US out of the great depression, but WWII did. (I.e. he was the greatest Keynesian of them all).

However, isn't war the purest non productive government spending there is? That is, if WWII was simply the worst of all forms of government spending, and that got us out of the depression, why won't it work again?

Anonymous said...

You realize, of course, that many, many similar videos exist exposing the ignorance of those at the Rally Restoring Honor? You're only adding evidence to the our-schools-are-failing-us heap. Not to mention that the anecdotal vs. general question lies behind each.

Lester Hunt said...


I think there is more going on than general ignorance. Bryan Caplan wrote a brilliant book (The Myth of the Rational Voter) in which he argued that voting is a special case, because ignorance has zero cost. If you are ignorant of how to drive a car or drive a nail when you are trying to carry one of these tasks out, you are going to pay a penalty of some sort; not so with voting on monetary policy when you don't know a darn thing about it.

I would have written a blog post about this, but I don't (yet?) have anything original to say about it and would just be repeating Bryan's ideas.


I've read that there actually is a version of the theory that draws this conclusion, "War Keynesianism." The only thing I don't understand about it is why not all Keynesians are war Keynesians? If Cash for Clunkers is supposed to be good for the economy, why would't a policy of blowing things up have the same sorts of benefits??

Todd said...

The paradox is that Keynesianism seems to work under certain circumstances. Though I haven't heard the term "War Keynesianism". I think if government spending is used to increase our output and that output is destroyed in war, and, at the same time, the government spending is used to destroy other countries people and productive capacity, Keynesianism just might work.

The traditional Keynesianism believers must think that there is a gentle way out like building roads, etc.

pappy d said...

Professor, I couldn't open the video link.

I would think that War Keynsianism would distinguish between local & foreign wars. In WWII, we stayed out of it as long as possible. After the war, with industrial capacity of both the axis & the allies bombed out, US GDP was higher than the rest of the world combined & their former empires low-hanging fruit.